Monday, September 25, 2006

T.C.O.T.C.


Where do you think most of the homeless here come from?



That Cunt On The Corner

She hands him a twenty.
He is moored on his favorite corner,
his little cup out on the sidewalk
threatening to trip a productive citizen.
He shouts thanks in an accent
I'm learning to hate,
his face glowing in the red whorish light
spilling from the Shoppers Drug Mart sign.

I wonder, if for every piece
of good will stolen
from others sympathy,
the price was paid in flesh?
For that twenty
if I could kick his
tiny cup into the street
and shout my inner feelings
about his intrusion.
For a C-note could I
kick his head into
the clean wall-brick?

His presence summons a
war party of loosers
and fellow victims of my society,
closing noisy ranks
in an invasion of stupidity.
I feel under fire... violated.
I want my hand to
pluck the cell phone
from it's warm pocket
I can almost feel my
fingers ... 911 they shout!

But instead I look away,
keep my head down,
and question myself as I walk silently past.

I am afraid.
I am afraid of stupidity
I am afraid of violence
I am afraid of embarrassment
I am afraid of poverty
I am afraid of illness
I am afraid of that
cunt on the corner.

I hear his drunken compatriate
barking at passers by
like a distempered alpha dog.
People become crabs
skittering sideways
leaving a wide berth around this urban shoal.

My purchase made,
I clutch the overpriced cigarettes
my government just raped me for.
I step across the street
to avoid having to
NOT give one to
T. C. O. T. C.

His abusive pal
chooses this moment
to cross the road
to my side.
I slow a little
to give myself
an escape route.
I find myself
tucked into a doorway
watching as he enters the coffee store.

Slowly I start again.
Across the street,
corner boy has another
pull off his beer.
I walk past the
coffee store.
Abusive pal
flops in a chair.
I feel sorry
for the girls in there.
But I am hungry
and tired
and myself
need a drink,
so I just slip
past it all
into the bar.
Safe for now.

Fat with fingers of chicken
I later leave the bar
wondering...
(for not long enough
even to get out of the door)
if I would
have to run the
cullion gauntlet
of that street
once again.

Aprehensive becomes curious
as my eyes meet
the blaze of cop lights.
"It's on the way"
I think to my looky-loo self,
and I try to saunter by
with just a passing glance
but can not.
I stand with
the others.
The others I see
every day.
The ones I look at
and who look at me
in passing silence
are mute no more.

So quickly they turn
as I did
to voice an opinion
as long as the police
are there to moderate.
"'Bout time",
says one.
"Thanks"
says another.
The police have
little time for
our comments.

The abusive drunk
who parked himself
in the coffee store
is looking happy
to be towed away,
by cop two,
as cop one
deals with the
cunt who is not
on his corner.
T .C .O .T. C.
holds his
dope bag
up high
and talks of cancer
as he
dumps the bag
on the street.
Cop one reminds
us all in a loud voice that
"That stuff's illegal, you know."
as he collects some
off the street
with a little brush
and a small bag.

T. C. O. T. C.
now has to taunt the cop from
the back of a squad car.
"I've got tons of that at home"
He shouts in anger.

"And where would that be?"
we hear the constable say
as he pulls out his notebook.

Just as reality
begins to resemble
the closing scenes
of a dragnet episode,
a bakers dozen
of angry agitated
young men appears
surrounding the cop
and pointing to another group of
angry agitated young men
heading towards us
from up the street.

"That guy hit that guy"
the smallest, loudest one says.
"Then that guy hit that guy"
the next smallest,
next loudest one says.
They circle around
like big chattering birds,
teasing the policecat.

Cornerboy is upset
at not being
the center of attention.
He sits forgotten
in the squad car.
The agitated young men
have stolen
the front page for tonight.

I don't know how
to feel now.
I Guess
I feel sad.
Sad this happens
in my neighborhood.
Sad for TCOTC
who is now
just some goof
in the back
of a cop car.
Sorry for the cop
that has to deal
with all this shit.

It makes me think
if we lived in a city
of, say twenty people
we wouldn't need police.
We would police
each other.
How big do we allow a city be
before it becomes
what I'm looking at now?

I'm getting cold
and I'm getting bored.
I feel like I
don't belong here.
I wander home wondering.
Wondering why
it has to be
like this.
Wondering what I myself
think of it all.
Wondering if TCOTC
will be back on his corner
tomorrow.

Months later
TCOTC is now
many TCOTCs.
My intense dislike
of the original
has mutated to
a grudging empathy,
as he finds himself
tasting his own medicine
in a small crowd
of the disturbing.

Todays star has
the look of a biker
but is chanting, (or singing)
in a high
falsetto voice.
TCOTC seems
resigned to the idea
of making no money today.
It is a nice day
after all,
and today is
a good day for
theatre on the corner.

I gave him
a few smokes
the other day.
He said thanks,
I said I owe you one.
I think he
wondered why
for a moment.
I guess he tries
not to think
too hard about
things like that.

I wonder if he'll
ever know he's
being written about.
I wonder if he'll
ever know he's
being read about.
I figure he's
immortal now -
as electrons will happily
describe him
to those that are interested
for as long as there is power.

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