A Walk on the Wild Side by Alan Catlin

“He used to be someone I knew
but now he’s someone else.”

The best way to describe what was
sitting in the last row of the express bus
to nowhere was,  human garbage: close
cropped clumps of gray hair last cut
by monkey’s with straight edges,
kitchen help duds stained by years
of grime and grease removed from fast
cooked food and smelling like it,
eyes rolled all the way back in his
perpetually nodding off eyes, so unhealthy
looking, so thin he appeared to be in his
late forties going on dead. The only sign
of life beyond his apparel and the faint
movement of his convex caved chest,
was a wrinkled Daily Racing Form clutched
in the talon like fingers of his right hand.
No one was sitting within two rows of
where he was reclined despite standing room
only, rush hour crowd, just in case whatever
it was he had proved to be contagious,
though they need not have worried;
what he had was self-inflicted and fatal
but not something you could catch unless
you wanted to, had the cash to lay down
for another lid, another blast of smack,
that would hit so hard the rest of his teeth
would fall out.

Alan Catlin
Alan Catlin is the poetry editor of misfitmagazine.net. His latest books of poetry are American Odyssey from Future Cycle and Last Man Standing from Lummox Press

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