I wrote this about 15 years ago after a trip to New York City. I fear it still may apply-
44th and Sixth
The old man stands like a shadow in some deep South shanty,
beer-swilling, Main-Street town,
as he covers his head for the New York cabbies and bus drivers
who pass him every day on his corner as he stands and waits.
He stands on the corner of 44th and 6th,
stands their every day,
to greet the bank manager and his help
as they rush to work.
Go away old man,
take your stubble-face,
and your hunger-stumble walk,
and your booze-sour breath,
and go away.
We don't want you here.
You're not our fault.
A man in a three-piece Italian suit hurries by
and the old man stumbles across the sidewalk,
a smile on his blank, glassy face;
Hey, old man,
don't stare at me from your corner of the street;
I am not your solution,
and you are not my problem..
I have problems of my own.
My BMW is always in the shop;
my club is admitting Jews and blacks;
my accountant is screwing my accounts,
and my wife too, every Thursday;
so get out of my way, old man,
I'm in a hurry.
I need a good stiff drink.
And don't stare at me, old man.
I am not you.
A passerby gives the old man a dollar
and the last half of an uneaten sandwich from the local deli,
and the banker glares at him through his glass wall,
as the old man stumbles away to eat the sandwich,
and to use the dollar to buy some respite
from his reality.
But he'll be back.
In a day, or a week, or a month,
as you pass there again,
scarf tight against the slicing November wind,
the old man still stands,
like a shadow in some deep-south,
pickup-truck, Main Street town,
lost and at large in his reality,
as the cabbies grind by,
and the buses miss him by inches,
and the banker sits behind his glass wall,
because its not his fault.