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Under the Bridge

Updated: May 7

Burning eyes’re pried open.

Gangly limbs dang near rigor mortis 

Muster themselves from hibernation,  

Grateful for the sunrise.   

May God damn that midnight chill,

A ridiculing cold that erodes

An already dying soul.   

Ears street-trained for threats

Tune-in to the dejected trudge 

Of convicts picking up trash   

Along the highway;

My only company today 

Yet none of them acknowledge me.  

I’m beneath them.  

The existential frost’s shaken off

To strum a beat-up, five string acoustic

Guitar filled with rocks and leaves 

(Don’t ask why. It’s my homeless thing.)  

For insults and change ‘til a cop 

With a chip on his shoulder

Complains I’m loitering.   

On to the next spot.   

Dumpster-dives behind McDonald’s,

Plenty of scraps to go around & feed

Some stray, terribly chatty calicos. 

You’re not alone, my furry amigos.  

Later on, shoplift a bottle of wine.

No corkscrews. Break the neck

Open right on the pavement,  

The broken shards all too similar

To my morale as they’re 

Washed away   

From a leaky bridge

Soggyin’-up my cardboard bed.

Have t’dry it out in the morning, 

I suppose,   

& remember t’catch a little bit

Of rain water in a dingy party cup 

For brushing my teeth too.   

No moon tonight, 

Only the drunken croon

Of my harmonica.   

Hopefully someone, somewhere’ll

Hear its lonesome tune, and there it’ll stay,

Etched into their dreams— 

A little piece of me.   

No one to converse with either,

So I chat with myself, contrive tales

Of all the extraordinary things I’ll do…  

One day.   

Other times, I’ll just jibber-jabber

With ghosts, exchanging theories of life

I wish I could share with anyone.   

Despite this hell, despite this hell,

I think I’m doing pretty well… At least

That’s what I must convince myself   

As the headlights of the passing cars

Dance off the concrete walls—

My own personal light show—  

And the familiar rumble

Of their tires overhead softly

Rocks me to sleep.   

*featured in the 85th issue of Drunk Monkeys

and my latest chapbook of poems, Under the Bridge & Other Absurdities

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