Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Poem: On Being Eaten

In all human towns the homeless find their places
they find the parks
they find the alleys
they find the lots
they find the places where they will not be chased away.

Some towns have places for the homeless to sleep
they have shelters
they have houses
but most homeless people have nowhere

and they sleep where they can
sometimes together
sometimes alone.

There used to be things called hobo jungles
which were little shanty-towns
or cardboard villages
which would spring up
outside of real towns.

Sometimes there would be campfires
and the tramps and hobos and homeless poor
could congregate and share and sing
and live like humans.

Sometimes I would join at these campfires.
A young bird
but no ordinary bird
a bird who listens and works out human speech
a bird who decides the campfire is just as good as the forest
a bird who learns the songs
and shares the food
and tries to bring
something to contribute.

A bird learning to live among these strange men.

But to some people
a bird is always a potential meal,
even if the bird can shout and curse

and some men will always laugh
when they hear the words
leave me alone.

Sometimes the most downtrodden
will become the most vicious
when given the opportunity

and there is nothing to do but
puff up your feathers and squawk and crow
flap your wings like you can still fly

make a hell of a racket
and frighten your attackers away
before you end up on a spit
over that campfire.

That's the trouble with joining.

You're never sure if the group will try and eat you.


(1975).

Watch for "Among The Humans," Jerry's novel, due June, 2014.