Aging Street Punk (a poem)

08 Jan Aging Street Punk (a poem)


Aging street punk sits
on the sidewalk
on a grate,
on his jacket
or a dirty rag.

Hard to tell.
I’ve seen him before
most days

Familiar stranger,
more stranger than familiar

He’s playing with a rat.
He smiles at the rat.

The rat walks up and down
his arms

The rat knows his part.
The rat plays along.

The rat is sleek
and healthy
and clean.

Rats are fastidious that way.

Seems like a pet rat
not a street rat.

Street punk and pet rat.
I haven’t seen the rat before.

And a crunch!
And the punk’s face
loses the smile.

“Oh for fuck’s sake.

That is what I think
is behind his expression.

A couple, the woman
has stepped
on a beer can.

Half a can, ripped in half,
with a few coins inside.

The can, half a can,
and maybe the rat
were the punk’s
means of production.

She looks back, a moments conversation
and she knows

And she returns and apologizes
And talks with the punk.

I try not to stare, and I go
into the Spar
and buy my beer.

And when I come out
the can is restored.

Maybe it is a new half beer can.

Empty beer cans are a renewable resource.

I give him a Euro fifty.

And look at his rat for a moment.

He says thank you.

Sunday Sept 28, 2014, by the MuseumsQuartier U2, Spar, at Getreidmarkt and Babenbergerstraße