Homeless Poets

Poets may be common place
and accepted as fixture in the city,
part of the urban landscape
essential to the scene
but, out here in mainstream suburbia
they are personas non-gratis
treated as undocumented aliens
from another world.

Like wandering hobos drawn
to a campfire, the poets congregate
on the sidewalk under the streetlight
locked out from the coffee house,
closed down for the evening
they seek a place to spread the word.

Banned from the seedy corner bar 
they can’t compete against
a Yankees playoff game
on a big wide-screen TV,
it’s no contest, you lose.

For the barflies poetry’s been dead
since Casey struck out.

The poets try their luck at the twenty-four hour
super-market, but it doesn’t take too much time
before they are chased away
for reciting haikus in health and beauty
delivering pantoums in produce
and performing spontaneous free verse
in frozen foods.

Within minutes the police arrive
with lights flashing and a screech of a siren
“Break it up, move on”
booms from a megaphone.

The artists of prose and verse
scatter afraid of being charged
with linguistic loitering
or restoring the peace
and always filled with the fear
of being deported to a jazz bar in the city
or confined to a library basement
or the back of a bookstore.

The only thing left at the site of their gathering
is a hand written scrawled sign

“Will read and recite for a venue”

Submited by

Sunday, May 22, 2011 - 21:58

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poetpete

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