Charles O’Hay: The Life

Slouched on a park bench,
the daily storm kicking cans
in your head

You watch the faces
move in slow parade
among the tulips and bronze:

Shoppers, retirees, students
workers spilling from glass towers
for a hot dog and a moment’s sun.

The faces are wet cigars, creamed
corn, barbed wire, broken clocks;
the faces are wars nobody wins.

You wait for one fiery syllable
from the sky, or some rich woman
to fuck some sense into you.

But neither arrives, only shadows,
sparrows, burses wheeling the old
toward death.

Tonight you will press some bills
into a man’s hand. You won’t know
his name. You won’t need to.

He will have what you came for.



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