THE STREET

Tenderloin

The following is the October 2012 draft of The Street. I dedicate this poem to all who walk the streets. Peace be with you.

Once upon a time, there was the Street,
pavement speckled pebble sharp,
that stretched from one end of the country to the other.

The Congressmen, The Clergy, and the Citizens knew him well
and often walked upon him.
One day, the Street found a Crack-head’s baby sitting in the gutter.
The Street had an idea.
He would raise the baby.

“Who will help me raise the Crack-head’s baby?” asked the Street.

“Not I,” announced the Congressmen.
“Not I,” spat the Clergy.
“Not I,” stuttered the Citizens.

“Then I will,” said the Street. So, the Street raised the baby, all by himself.

When the baby had grown into a child, the Street asked the people,
“Who will help me teach this child?”

“Not I,” proclaimed the Congressmen.
“Not I,” sang the Clergy.
“Not I,” mumbled the Citizens.

“Then I will,” said the Street. So, the Street taught the child, all by himself.

When the child finally bloomed into a woman, the Street asked the people,
“Who will help me protect this woman and help her find work?”

“Not I,” declared the Congressmen.
“Not I,” pronounced the Clergy.
“Not I,” muttered the Citizens.

“Then I will,” said the Street.
So, the Street protected the woman against the sewers,
the soil, and the subway cars, that lie beneath his surface. The Street brought the woman
to a dark alley with a single red light, all by himself, sent her through the door underneath the red light, and carried her heavy footsteps back to the gutter when she came out.

The Street asked the people, “Who will help me get this woman to a free clinic?”

“Not I,” stated the Congressmen.
“Not I,” prayed the Clergy.
“Not I,” stammered the Citizens.

“Then I will,” said the Street.
But all the free clinics were closed.

Nine month’s passed and the woman gave birth to a baby boy.
The woman died in child birth,
leaving the boy with the Street.

“Who will raise this boy?” asked the Street.

“Not I,” said the Congressmen.
“Not I,” said the Clergy.
“Not I,” said the Citizens.

“Then I will,” said the Street.

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