My Words

 

 

Poetry Corner

Occasionally I’m moved to poetics.  Since I have a number of serious and excellent poet friends, I keep my own efforts minimal.  But if you live in San Antonio, you probably know the guy – and the street corner – that inspired this one:

 

Bob Bless

 

It’s not an easy corner.

Four lanes

no shoulders

intimidating curb, black

with the rubber of thousands

of oblivious tires.

He’s claimed this

concrete turf

his bright eyes

ever blue

against leathered,

weathered face,

for all I know

the lingering tan

from South Asian suns

beating harsh on

sweat-caked skin,

slapping branches

of strange trees

stinging his cheeks

boots that never dried

plodding, stealthy, tense,

through flat rice paddies,

tranquil and treacherous.

Is that where he left the legs?

 

The bright eyes, the grin

pure joy,

never a slump

humping his wheelchair

on and off the steep curb

as if gravity does not call his name

fearless in that

sliver of space

between sidewalk

and cars that could obliterate him

mid-conversation

mid-station change.

 

If you wave a hand

his wheels fly to you.

Hold out a little change

a buck or two,

you get back the grin.  He

makes his own,

his world manufactured

on the spot, from

materials invisible

to the naked eye.

He donates for free,

waves and smiles

dances on his wheels

and lights his corner

with a gratitude

you’d think was unearned,

his toothless benediction the same

to every glassed-in passerby,

givers or no,

Bob bless you!

Bob bless you!

—   Cece Box