THE MAN AMONG PIGEONS

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San Francisco / Market Street --not enough years ago to show much "improvement"

The Man Among Pigeons

Lost in translation,
a figure of political speech
for a nation out of Touch
and out of Reach

The long look for something else
has opened sockets in the shoes 
of the man among pigeons.

The Gameplan every city answers to
gives & takes a tide of dapper lunchbreakers
choosing eye-contact with manikins
over someone too-seriously clutching
pizza-crustfrom a trash can...(the look is "away")

Here in the valley of the shadow of business-as-usual
he gets the benefit of the doubt on occasion,
change, even bills from those who comprehend
in that wizened, searching gaze
the snapped thread 
of luck
that keeps 
the sword of our own downfall
overhead but ambiguous 
in the haze of who we are until 
we're simply-suddenly sick,
down-&-out or dead.

With unmistakable difficulty
he rises as if struck by the memory
of a place to go
as if
called on to stand for it
catching his name in a stranger's voice

a ragged curtain of birds rising from all sides:
he stands bewildered to clattering applause, 
bathed in the wing-pummeled flicker of sunlight, 
sinking through a fanfare of pigeons
back to his bench,

holding his face like an empty bowl,
unsteady gently, sober & old.

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