Buds in the Gutter

James M. Cole Photography at Etsy
James M. Cole Photography at Etsy

(this poem comes from a Yeat’s quote given to me by Mosk, thanks again my friend! This is what I came up with.  also, join us poets over at Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub!

there’s an undercurrent

to this city

something about all the red lights

and in a crowded line

for welfare I want to be waiting

for something other than me

I walk my way

toward some kind of home

in this little city

where I get lost

along the avenues, I follow

their rhythm

everyone seems to know where they’re going

yet no one does

we all want that something don’t we

souls in the gravel like dandelions

waiting and reaching in the winter

for some kind of meaning–the some kind of will

that drives us forward and backward

to be good, follow

a guided tour in the self-help section,

prescriptions overflowing the purse

herbs yogurt and yoga

down the street the coffee shop

where the hippies in sarongs

and hand-knit sweaters

feed organic babies organic fruits

and across the block

the clean crisp business man

in his suit from JC Pennies

walks to the bank, skipping over the slush

on the brink–in his eyes

a well dressed woman in a Lincoln,

her heels erect on the pedal

passes and dismisses my stare

as I smoke a cigarette in a dirty 3x jacket

and I wonder if she’s found it, or lost it, or if she doesn’t see

there’s my high school sweetheart

strung out on meth

entering a dark door

to someone’s apartment

I try to imagine how his needs changed

I think there are secrets here, secret people

like the face I saw in Walgreens

that seemed to sing

then there are ones I’m not seeing

that are at their worst

full of passion and intensity

painting buds in the gutters

12 thoughts on “Buds in the Gutter

  1. So many details I loved here: all the red lights (what, no green?), walking to someplace and being aware that everyone is unaware, dandelions reaching for meaning (!), the juxtaposition of the hippies, the businessman, the woman in the Lincoln… seeing your high school sweetheart strung out… all this has a feeling of disconnectedness. You know there are things you’re not seeing, and even for those, you have rachmones [Yiddish for empathy]. This was a challenging, rewarding read. You rose to the occasion! – Mosk


  2. nice…you really bring out the city in this and give it texture….everyone trying to get somewhere but no one really knowing where….that is def the city to me….so full of life and grit….people at all ends of the spectrum….love all the detail in this…


  3. This was a beautiful description of the city, capturing the overwhelming feeling you get, brushing quickly past so many people, each of them caught in the currents of their own lives. How you can feel that you are all bound by some commonality of purpose, because you share this place, and your universal human plights.


  4. I like how the disjointed thoughts are so much like that of walking down a city sidewalk– this seems overflowing with ideas that could give rise to other conversations, and yet it all relates to that one walk. Nice. ~peace, Jason



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