Buddy Can You Spare A Dime

By D. R. DiFrancesco

The alarm rings,

Pastie mouthed, joints aching,

Swinging my legs off the bed,

Damn arthritis,

The cold is killing me.

I rub my eyes to wipe away the blur,

Standing in line to use the bathroom,

It wasn’t always this way.

Looking over my shoulder,

Bedroll, pair of pants and a shirt,

All I have left to my name,

Insignificant to most,

Something to fight for.

A hot meal,

Maybe the last for the day,

An assembly line of the wretched,

Like dogs fighting over scraps of meat,

Degrading and demoralizing.

Back to the street,

Bedroll under my arm,

Wearing everything I own.

More stares,

People pass by,

Eye contact would make me human,

I was an accountant for God’s sake,

I had a wife,

Left when times got tough,

I have kids,

They think Daddy’s gone away.

No surprise work is hard to come by,

One set of cloths,

Infrequent showers,

Unshaven,

Politicians want us to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps,

What bootstraps,

I wouldn’t hire me?

Panhandling,

For money, food, drink, and the occasional odd job,

Pennies, rocks, and insults are thrown my way,

I’m not a bum,

I’m you, one hospital bill away,

One hospital bill and you are me.

Maybe I’ll get a hot meal tonight,

Shelter,

A warm bed,

Maybe I won’t,

Look in the mirror,

Who do you see?

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