Thursday, June 20, 2013

Baltimore Poem

This was originally published in the UB Post back in 2002

When Pigeons Fly High

Up on Mount Vernon in Baltimore
He sits with his friends
He’s got time; he’s got smiles
For those who care for him.

They all gather round
It’s their little meeting place
“Hey Ben how you been?”
“Been fine Joe can’t complain.”

In this park they always meet
I watch from across the street
And see him like an idol
With them at his feet

Followers or friends
A little of both
The point is the meeting
To help them all cope

To him they talk
And to us they flutter
They gather round
To peck at the clutter

They inch closer to him
His hand opens generously
As he casts them bread
They flutter up and back again

It’s like a festive dance
Away and back, up and down
He looks at them, glinting in the sun
In a trance

Ben, Joe and all of his friends
His bag is empty now
They watch and anxiously shuffle
Waiting for him to move

His lips curl in a thousand smiles
His old eyes view the many miles
His aching legs have walked
A lifetime of half-realized hopes

As smoke rises from the city horizon
His last breath flies skyward
Into the city’s cold unfeeling air
Carrying his life’s dreams

The meeting ends for good
Ben and Joe and all of his friends
Will have to find another caretaker
A friend to care for them.

His little paper bag blows down the street
Flitting and fluttering in the traffic
As the pigeons gather round him
Some are pecking at his feet.

His friends coo and chirp goodbye
I stare straight up into the sky
I’ve never seen so many pigeons
Fly so high

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