He sleeps on a bench,

learns the hard way,

there is no such thing

as a free lunch.

If you’re out to lunch,

can’t keep your nose

to the grindstone,

people pass you by.

Once a Rough Rider

on San Juan Hill,

he’s now a nobody

with no place to go.

Nicotine-stained fingers

roll a cigarette with the last

few crumbs of his tobacco.

Singing, Brother

can you spare a dime,

he waits on a breadline

with rickety legs, an empty belly,

and rusted cracked lips.

Tired of living,

breathing like a Jew,

he moves in slow motion,

as if underwater.

He rests his head

on a pillow of maple leaves.

The only name on his lips, Mother!