The Denizen Biz

The denizen sits in his usual space
At the usual time
In the usual place.
He talks to himself and he sings to the birds,
He’s a man of few means,
He’s a man of few words.

He’s dressed in a jacket, his shield from the cold,
It’s faded and worn and the lining is old.
He sips at a coffee, his usual fare,
He seems not to worry,
He seems not to care.

He stares out the window,
He’s found a good nook,
The regular patrons don’t give him a look.
He’s lived in the town for at least thirty years,
He’s withstood all the stares,
He ignores any leers.

The main street is his,
It’s his regular beat.
He’d rather be here
Than at home with no heat.

He flips through his thoughts
As they run through his head,
There are those who observe
He’d be better off dead.

Then in walks a woman, his direct counterpart:
Her hair is dyed mauve, she’s a real work of art.
She greets him with warmth,
Puts her arms ’round his waist:
A woman of no fortune,
A person in no haste.

Her eyeglasses perch on her thick, matted hair,
Her hearing aid’s off,
She flops down in a chair.

They talk and they gesture,
They laugh and they grin,
It’s clear that their joy
Comes from something within.

They speak of great fortunes
And business and fame,
They imagine lush gardens
And their ancestral last name.

They’re planning to build
A huge mansion in the air,
They really don’t mind
If the money’s not there.

They sip one last drop
‘Til the café’s nightly close,
Then walk out to the curb,
They could stay if they chose.

But they gather their garments
And get up to leave,
They’ll be back on the morrow
After night’s short reprieve.

They shuffle their way
Down the well lit main street,
They hold on to each other,
Shredded shoes hug their feet.

People who watch them cluck:
“That will never be me!
Why, that sort of thing’s just not destined to be!”

And the denigrated denizens
Of anyone’s town
Will live on forever
In anonymous renown.

Pamela Ross is a Hoboken resident and a frequent contributor. Comments can be sent to:


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group