Michael N. Thompson

DIABLO’S CIRCUS

The air is crisp,
Though not too cold
And in between tourist traps,
Bodies are strewn about
Like zombies
After an apocalypse

Old Korean women
With their carts
Pass by early morning hustlers
And they nod to each other
Knowing that both are looking
For a little junk
That might be worth
A dollar or a damn

Today’s vagrant
Sits at the bottom
Of the stairwell
Caked with expectations
That his paper cup
Will soon be filled with coins,
But doesn’t have the guts
To look subway pedestrians
In their eyes

Spokesmen for desolation,
Who would otherwise reside
Under the curve of an exit ramp,
Loiter in an SRO lobby
With a newspaper
And chain-smoke Viceroys
On a velveteen sofa

Next to the Century Theater,
Addicts with jailhouse ink
Make their presence felt
As do the skinny Asian girls
Who long to break free
Of the massage parlor future
Their mother have carved out for them
And a battle-tested crone
Shuffles along the concrete,
But the housecoat
That she’s adorned in
Doesn’t cover up varicose veins

Social clubs on folded chairs
Come to order along the avenue
While song and dance mobs
Attempt to entertain the uninitiated
For a few silver dollars
But mostly end up posing
For vacation photographs

Homeless men play their games
Of checkers, dominos
And backgammon
On the same cardboard boxes
They’ll later flatten to sleep on
While fog swirls over the rooftops

The wing-tipped crowd
Crawls like cockroaches
Up the boulevard
Punching a clock
That hits back ever harder
Until its five o’clock
Where they dread returning
To Stepford wives
And prefabricated tract homes
In their hell-du-sacs

 

 

 

Michael N. Thompson is the author of the poetry collections Dancing Inside The Mouth Of Madness, This Hollow Pierces and Verbal Alchemy. He has also been published in over two dozen literary journals. He has lived in British Columbia, Washington, Pennsylvania, California and the state of confusion. After barely surviving the death of hair metal, numerous riots and the occasional earthquake in Los Angeles, Michael returned to his hometown of San Francisco in 2008 where he cheers relentlessly for his beloved 49ers and Giants without consequence.

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