Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Bum

Paulie watched the harbor boats
every night before he'd sleep
under a sheet of cardboard
his wildest dreams would creep

come out to the dockyards
washing vessels before the launch
he only takes what he's offered
in mind and principle staunch

the night's cold offers no solace
the concrete harbors no hope
the moon is a constant reminder
of an ever downward slope

Paulie knows about a shelter
where the boys can go to get warm
a brand new shirt and a jacket
and a place to chase away harm

he walks into the cathedral
candle flicker lights up on the wall
there's a sign on the door where he enters
says'"welcome. come one. come all"

Paulie stands in line with the others
a nun hands him a spoon and a bowl
tucks a napkin into his collar
and says, "come warm your spirit and soul."

as the line glides into the kitchen
Paulie smells the broth in brew
and the priest waves the line along
"every one"

"we've seen you around with the others
but you've never spoken a word
of life or strife or daughter or wife
or a single word of the Lord"

"and today you come here begging
asking for our meager offer
but you sleep away your hours
for which our own Messiah suffered"

Paulie leaves the church yard
knowing now he'll never win
and finds the hobos on the railroad tracks
with a plastic bottle of gin

he sips from the bottle neck
and pisses out his soul
and lies beside the train rail
breathing burning oil and coal

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