You labor.  You contend.
The sun lights your face and the sun goes dark.
All your works you stuff into a bag
and you write your name on it.
At the border you dump it into the river.
You make for a few moments

This is about Lamont.
Lamont lived on the street and he died there.
Lamont had a soul of remarkable sweetness.
Lamont was a curbside drunk.  I see him
on his perch outside the liquor store
and every now and then I slip him a buck.
He falls in love with my highfaluting dog who
barely requites him but Lamont was born to adore.

You who are old know how the need sharpens to
touch another being soul to soul.
I see Lamont and I am gladdened.
Both of us smile at the sight of each other.
In these roles of ours
hustler and mark in the ritual of panhandling
we take joy.
We touch a tentacle here and there of essence.

In the fall I help him celebrate his birthday
his 50th he tells me.  He says he doesn’t figure to see any more of them.
I try of course to con him out of this doom.
I think in my educated white guy stupidity I can show
him a reality brighter than what he’s fated to.

Come spring you down your last drink.
It’s good stuff.  You tilt back your head and send it flaming
down your gullet and you stumble from the curb
right into the onrushing unknown and you’re lying there
in the gutter.

You’re on your way my brother.
Here comes the moon rising from between the chimneys.
You no longer know what it is or what it means.
All you perceive is its beauty.