Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Jesse’s Homeless Face

by Michael Lee Johnson

Someday Jesse wants to go home.
I see his world,
all it’s hidden concepts
embedded in Jesse’s aging face-
life has whispered by leaving
memory trails-
wrinkled forehead,
deep as river bed ruts
dried with years, weather-beaten,
just above his bushy eyebrows
that are gray and twisted-
much like life drawing memories
across his empty face.
Jesse has a long oblique
Jewish nose with dark
blue opal eyes,
that would pierce
even the pain
of his own crucifixion.
Life tears flow though
a whole new ghoulish
apparition, a vision
of homelessness plastered
east of Dearborn Bridge,
near Lower Wacker Drive,
downtown Chicago-
where affluent citizens
seldom go unless inebriated;
puke-stained, or in a taxicab.

Jesse’s hair sprouts skyward,
groomed like an abandoned
dove nest in wild Chicago
meandering winds.
Puffed eye bags of weariness
sag likes sandbags,
one slightly heavier than the other.
Weeks of breaded growth
contour his chin in color blends
of white and black.
Over one shoulder drapes
a grungy gray blanket found
in Lilly Mae’s garbage can,
the other shoulder,
naked, but tanned,
bears itself to the elements.

Jesse panhandles during the day.
At night and early Sunday mornings,
you can find him behind
a local McDonalds,
near Cracker Creek,
sharing leftover burgers
and sugar candy
with river rats-
Jesse considers it an act of religious charity;
age 69, someday soon,
Jesse wants to go home.

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