The Village Idiot

Heís forever adorned in a security guardís uniform
he dredged up in some ancient lumber yard,
but the shirtís too small,
exposing his belly between the buttons,
and he tore off the patches on the arms,
and his ample pants are pea-green and rumpled;
theyíre tired of wearing him,
theyíre tired of this life, on him.

And he sleeps behind an abandoned Jiffy Lube
on a pile of dirty U-Haul blankets,
walling himself in with engine parts
and the backs of wooden chairs,
and the track-lighting he stripped
out of someoneís bathroom
on some job he once lucked into.

And at night he wanders the streets
searching through garbage heaps
for anything half-salvageable;
when he finds it he drags it
back to his lair
like an alley cat
dragging back its latest kill,
and everyone says heís a harmless idiot,
but heís got a warrant out for his arrest
for attempted murder,
for scraping someoneís throat with a knife,
someone who trashed his worthless inventories
and laughed about it.

And he operates on the bottom floors
of humanity, doing the most deplorable
for petty cash -
he once was a plumberís lackey,
he once was a sanitation urchin,
heís always the lowest common denominator
in a crowd,
and one time he hired a prostitute,
not for sex,
but to ďlayĒ with him for the night,
because he didnít know where else to go
for a human touch,
because the humans donít want him,
they only want to help him
from a distance,
from a gap heíll never close
despite all his efforts,
because itís not help he wants,
itís love,
the one thing
that in all his wanderings
heíll never salvage,
the one thing he just canít reach.†

M.P. Powers has a poem coming out in Nerve
Cowboy's next issue, and has been published
in Identity Theory, Poems Niederngasse,
Ascent Aspirations, and The Dead Mule School
of Southern Literature.

© 2007 Underground Voices