Storm water pouring from a ceiling,
Plaster walls soaking a bed;
In a windowless tenement, a bare bulb
Winces on and off like a terrible illness, paper
Strips for fires, for the cold.
And a girl, face dragging the floor —
Child labor puppet kicking her age, muted with lies.
A city stuck her youth in the street
Selling poppies, selling herself;
Her mama deaf to tears, deaf to a bastard child
In a cement well drowned out
By the sound of the poor; by the staticky noise of the selfish.
Meanwhile in a tenement, there’s the stench of dying,
The smog of hell. Thinning bones
In orphans who are diseased, cold air gives them T.B.
Lumping together, flogged of their health
They’re silent up to their necks,
Slumped in their speech, they’re put out of windows with the
Mulatto cats, drowned in the cold;
Thick, thick air flapping and blowing, the sun slumping
In snow; skyful of factories spilling black smoke; impotent lungs.
In a hard apart city, that life, that doom — a half-brain lunacy.
Mothers selling their children, selling their cats,
Peering through peepholes
Like whores — they know what their lies are for,
White and black every day until
Their mouths close like a fist, you know who you hate;
Once they were beautiful.
Once picking up compliments and loving it.
And then they grew old,
Scared to death; poverty a beggar.
Orphan. Orphan. You get a life without dreams.
Copyright © 01/13/18 lance sheridan®