A steam drained train
I mind the last stop
it’s a place of activity
a slow steady drop
people getting on
people getting off.
The red line will take
you where you need to go
next to the coffee shops
and strip shows.
Next to the people plateaued
and the ones bought and sold by dope.
Those who lost their soul so long ago
Juxtaposed to the business man
with a wife, a house in Lexington
with letters of acceptance
a guided tour
And the homeless man with street wisdom sits next to him
Waking up from
drinking himself to sleep in a cold city
where the world of whimsy, has left him sane
using the sun as an alarm clock again.
The cold shivers him to the bone.
Down by the Back Bay subway
he finds his home,
he drinks his last drink of the day.
Till change piles up
People littering his way
a couple dimes of change.
so they don’t feel so guilty
a brotherhood of man.
But not if you’re old and filthy
or if you are greased and grisly.
Just another Nevertown day and
the winter’s coming fast.
“Please I don’t ask for your pity.
But the chill is coming to this city.
Soon it will be so cold that
gloves will not contain me.
I’m drowned within the wind and rain.
This winter is gonna kill me.”
That’s what the winter soldier says lying by the door stop
to the coffee shop, next to the strip shows
the lovely places where faces are unknown.
Strangers getting in a coffee fix or spending time watching porno flicks
the people come out hyped up or sick
and this man waits patiently
for their change
To fill his paper cup
or to get another coffee
Or a whisky drink to warm him up
the leaves are falling
the air is drying and
cold is coming.
Do you realize that the people on this train
the very people you ride with, the young, the old
the worker bees the trust fund socialites
and the lowlife parasites, students with money, and
the mothers with their kids who have empty stomachs
one or two or three of those people, or more
will die this winter.
perish in winter, and while you warm yourself
with your winter warmer
There insides will freeze
And their skin will tighten
There lips will crisp and blue
And veins will stick to their
their hands frost bitten
Clinging on to everything they own
Perishing in the cold.
so your reading my poem
Every word and you may be asking
Alright man, what’s the closed caption
The action is to
Save a life
Donate gloves and socks
And spare change when
No one should be left out in the cold
No one, never.
Cause all it takes on these Nevertown streets
Is a couple bad spins on life’s wheel
And you will understand
How the disenfranchised feel
And it could be you out in the cold
Out in the snow
When the temp goes less then zero
Be glad you have a home
Cause a lot of people
And a lot of people
will be forgotten
Buried and blistered…
The Soldiers of Nevertown Winters
Jason Wright is the founder and Editor of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly.