Posted in Prose, social justice, Strangers, Uncategorized

Ash Wednesday

Good Catholics
Cindered forehead kisses
From the The Lord Himself
Sitting point blank
Fogging up their third eye
With a thumb print of a robed stranger
announcing a Holier than thou prowess
For the day, at least

And every year I wonder
Which fraction fancy themselves as church-goers
Which ones simply guilt-riddlers,
Childhood obligation twanging the tunes of sweet fiddlers
Guilt always pierced my psyche more than Catholicism ever could
I don’t bother today
Never need to bother with ritual
To keep my spiritual cup half-full
And my good tidings habitual

The man sits across from me staring
Catching eye contact like foul balls
That were meant to be grand slams
His Divine thumb print masked
By a flat-brim declaring
“No. 1 Cares at all”
“But I do. What if I do?
“Maybe if you knew that you would care too”

The woman with red asks the woman with grey if she wants to pop a squat
In her coveted rush hour spot
Grey protests, she’ll stand instead
The gesture tickles my compassion
Remanding all the instances
Where I wish thugs would ascend to hold on poles
So their elders could sit contented
Easing their bunions and
stoking the fire in their

Souls come and go while the one
Sits holed up in the corner
In a fortress of meager possessions
Concealed in plastic bags and shopping baskets
Thinking incoherent of the casket
He buried when he lost his way
Doomed to rest in living decay

Scarves clad noses and mouths
As the stench permeates the car
Poverty stinks but nobody wants to clean it
It’s easier to shuffle down the train
As they silently demean him
He doesn’t give a shit
Counting his pennies and wondering where a man like him can
Take a shit take a bath have a sleep without an eye
Winked open in defense at
The impending strong arm of the cold
Coming to take him or leave him

But the difference is small change
He’s been forgotten long ago
By anyone that mattered

I’ll think of him tonight
As I throw off the covers
Groggily scoff at the heater
That does its job too well
Wrap my legs around
A lover whose secrets of mine he knows too well
Security comes in gentle forms
I wish to box up the comforts of home
Drop them in a gift box on the lap
Of the stranger whose bed I board to take to work


Stories of travels, of tribulations, and of learning to tell the difference.

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