I have this friend…

streetI have no idea what his name might be,
not one idea at all,
my children mocking me when I called him,
simply, my friend on the corner,
giggling that it sounds seedy to say it that way,

but he had to have a name
and it would be an insult to suppose it was
Bob or Steve or Gary
when it wasn’t; his mother named him once
but she couldn’t have

imagined he’d be homeless, begging silently
on Chicago’s streets,
borrowing a cup from the garbage, shuffling
from car to car to curb
as the light turned green and we sped away
leaving my friend on the corner

grinding his toothless grin, shaking the cup to see
if there was enough for food;
he never spoke, never a word, not even the
‘God bless’ others said
obliged to acknowledge God’s greatness as

they starved through life
just to make their philanthropists happy;
until he wasn’t there
one day and then another and then another,
and I worried I’d never

learn what his given name might have been
as if that was the problem.

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My friend on the corner…

streetI have no idea what his name might be,
not one idea at all,
my children mocking me when I called him,
simply, My friend on the corner,
giggling that it sounds seedy to say it that way,
but he had to have a name
and it would be an insult to suppose it was
Bob or Steve or Gary
when it wasn’t; his mother named him once
but she couldn’t have
imagined he’d be homeless, begging silently
on Chicago’s streets,
borrowing a cup from the garbage, shuffling
from car to car to curb
as the light turned green and we sped away
leaving my friend on the corner
grinding his toothless grin, shaking the cup to see
if there was enough for food;
he never spoke, never a word, not even the
‘God bless’ others said
obliged to acknowledge God’s greatness as
they starved through life
just to make their philanthropists happy;
until he wasn’t there
one day and then another and then another,
and I worried I’d never
learn what his given name might have been
as if that was the problem.

When God blesses you…

My Friend on the Corner

I have no idea what his name might be,
not one idea at all,
my children mocking me when I called him,
simply, my friend on the corner,
giggling that it sounds seedy to say it that way,
but he had to have a name
and it would be an insult to suppose it was
Bob or Steve or Gary
when it wasn’t; his mother named him once
but she couldn’t have
imagined he’d be like this, begging silently
on Chicago’s streets,
borrowing a cup from the garbage, shuffling
from car to car to curb
as the light turned green and we sped away
leaving my friend alone again
grinding his toothless grin, shaking the cup to see
if there was enough for food;
he never spoke, never a word, not even the
‘God bless’ others said
obliged to acknowledge God’s greatness as
they starved through life
just to make their philanthropists happy
so the named are blessed
by the nameless man they blessed;
until he wasn’t there
one day and then another and then another,
and I worried I’d never
learn what his given name might have been
as if that was the problem.