He is the maestro of the misbegotten
don of the destitute
headliner for the homeless.
Spring, summer, autumn, and winter
Bogey sits on the bench of an outstretched folding table
head hung down, eyes clinging to the cement floor
of one of two adjacent pavilions,
his hands stuffed into the pockets
of his stained and faded evergreen hoodie.
In spring, summer, autumn
—but never winter--
pretty women in pastel-colored exercise outfits
park their gleaming Subarus, SUVs, and Mercedes
along a tree-lined park drive
and hurry over to the pavilion
next to the one where Bogey sits.
They wave their long arms like tulip stems
to the rhythms of their leader.
“One…two…three…come on, ladies!
You’re almost there!”
Bogey, frozen on the bench
in his open-air theater wing,
watches them curiously as he waits
for Squire the squirrel to leap onto the table
and feast on the peanuts that Bogey has lined up
for him like tiny communion cups.
Soon, as he does most mornings,
a gray-haired man with a Labrador retriever
will sit down beside Bogey and talk to him
in hushed but intense tones,
like a theater director
urging a Shakespearean actor not to be afraid,
Richard Stukey is a freelance writer who also writes fiction, poetry, and songs. His articles and columns have appeared in many publications, including the (North Jersey) Record, the Washington Examiner, and the Boston Globe. He grew up in Teaneck Jersey, and lives in the Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia.
The poems that follow are powerful evidence that Poetry Speaks Back to Hunger!