By Rick Williams
I saw a man who was painfully thin
his clothes were dirty rags;
he was standing in a garbage bin
digging through the bags.
Briefly then, his gaze met mine;
his red-rimmed eyes were pained.
If they ever held a shine
no trace of it remained.
I saw a man with mismatched shoes;
his dirty ankles bare.
He clutched his paper bag of booze
and peered through stringy hair.
He stared down at the littered ground
as if it wasn't there;
oblivious of things around,
lost in his despair.
I saw a man upon the ground
in dirty blankets rolled;
he slept and as he did he frowned
outdoors in bitter cold.
He has no place to call his own
and has to search for food.
He spends his empty days alone
no friends he can include.
I saw a man that spends his nights
inside a cardboard box.
Enduring insects and their bites
he has no doors or locks.
Sometimes when he'll go and roam
to find something to eat
he'll come back to his makeshift home
and find only empty street.
I saw a man in an alleyway
huddled near a warm air vent;
at his side a small dog lay
sharing space on the cement.
Whenever there was food to eat
he fed his puppy first.
Although they lived out on the streets
alone it would be worse.
I saw a man that wandered nights;
he found it best to stay
away from all the noise and lights
and sleep during the day.
He rested in the doorways, dark
and hid from public eye;
he'd sometimes sleep in city parks
under the open sky.
I saw a man hunched in the rain;
he once had pride and wealth.
From drug use he could not refrain
and it cost his job and health.
His energy, once strong, was spent;
he had nothing to give.
Begging handouts he stood, bent;
doing what he could to live.
The stories of these fallen men
are varied, yet the same.
They know they can't go back again
their pasts can they reclaim.
The human need to cling to life
is all that drives them now.
Their days are filled with pain and strife
but they survive, no matter how.