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Pete K

I feel so low and blue
My life’s worth nothing
through and through
Though I struggle day and night
It seems I never see the light

I’m always searching
high and low
never knowing
where to go
And when I thnk I’ve reached
my end
I hear the message the angels send

You live your life
from day to day
the voices tell me that I’m OK
Now I know what I must do
I tell myself
“This much is True”

4:35 in the morning, hurrying
off to work.
Its dark outside riding my bike
But I’ve learned the curbs.
Made my way to the main office
sweating, ready to go.
Three hours later waiting, ready
to roll back home.
One more cup of coffee is all
I’ll really need.
Spilled it on the floor and
nobody seen.
Told them since there isn’t any
work today.
Let me clean up the mess for
a one-hour wage.
….and they said O.K.


You can tell when the black dog is home
The bed goes unmade
The letters don’t get writ
that which arrives is junk
The ringing phone is an accident
It’s the black dog calling from somewhere
bow wow wowing on a wire
dogging them on
It’s the worst feeling I know
this feeling of no feeling
that feeling that all feeling’s fled
Thoughts don’t conclude
sentences go unfinished
there wasn’t anything to say anyway
and no one to say it to
The black dog is here
howling at an eclipsed moon
There is nothing to eat
nothing to smoke
nada to drink
that’ll chase him away
Steady as a pug
tenacious as a pit
the black dog remains
lifting its leg on all you hold dear
He remains
till finally
you bare your teeth
scare him off
knowing it is one or the both of you
and regardless
he’ll be back


I met an Angel on the bus today.
Her husband asked her for money…
when he saw her on the street last week.

She showed me his handiwork.
Lifted her upper lip
revealing a renegade tooth
jammed above the gum line.

He used to stumble across the night…
into her room
Until the day she took a trip to the hardware store –
bought the biggest screwdriver she could find.

Angel smiles at every single person she sees.
Shifts her large, dark frame onto the bus seat
tucking her bags around her like small children.

The fabric of her dress comes to life.
Swirls of fuchsia, neon, blue and gold
race through an undercurrent of black silk.

She was born with blond hair she hated,
too strange, she said, against her black skin.
Unwrapping a circle of tightly woven braids,
she releases festive ribbons
shows what’s left of her hair.

A patchy scalp…
violently acquired case of epilepsy
the only crown of matrimony she now wears.

Gathering her bags around her,
she checks and double checks her belongings.
She wants to store a few things away from the shelter.

She tells me about the druggie who creeps around at night,
scavenging through people’s things.
“She thinks I’m asleep,” Angel scoffs.
“I never sleep with both eyes closed.”

Opening her favorite backpack,
she shares her collection of neon pens.
A glimpse into a notebook,
lined with black pages,
uncovers swirls of vibrant color.
Finding their way into shapes,
Flowers, bursts of electricity –
Set free by the loveliest woman alive.


Waking Too Soon

A winter gray could rolls
back and forth through my head.
My eyes open to November light
and I wake as a character
in a Beckett play.
I lie in bed
while minutes arise and fade
and wonder how I got
to this place in my life
where nothing happens
and some mornings I lack will.
Out on Greenwood Avenue,
cars sweep cold blasts
up and down the asphalt –
a sound track repeating
itself over and over.
I hear every cough
and rasp of woman laughter
in the alleyway.
My thoughts gather
into a low overcast
as I stare at
the scarred, wooden wall
on the sleeping alcove
in my tiny apartment
in this building, circa 1962 –
formerly a motel.
I should get up but would rather
return to the velvet
ether of sleep.

In the colds and flus of winter

The rainy season of summer

On these pavements

I live, sleep maybe and will die

Covered by cardboard boxes and plastics

And yet still the noises of the streets is in my ears

Harassment and abuse

From those with authority I receive

I feel no longer human

Neglected, condemned and un wanted

Still hoping for a better life

But its impossible, nothing looks positive

I wish all cats, dogs and rats

Get killed and be alone

So as to ease my burden

When searching for food

For it’s only in these dumpsters

And battered garbage cans

Only they can solve my problem

They are my sustainer

I hope one day, the best will come

My dream is to see the positive

The better side of things

I have a dream to live

Not lie the way I am now

I am tired of cold sidewalks

I want something better NOW