040 – Hey Mister

Megan Moses

Digital Print on A3 paper

Hey mister can you spare a coin
It’s cold this morning and I’m aching in every bone I’ve got
Hey mister I’m down here, I’m down on the ground
You pretend you cant see me as you sidestep my feet
You think I’m so unlike you that I’m not even worth a glance
But there was a time when I was much different, and you would have shook my hand hello
I had a business and a family, a reason to get out of bed
Smiling eyes to greet me of an evening, a feeling that I belong
And then…well, then life happened, and I didn’t handle it well, like dominos falling, a chain of events
One day I woke up, hung over as hell, and all of it was gone
The first time I sat here, asking strangers for money, my failure on display for everyone to see Something broke deep inside me, and I haven’t been able to fix it since
I’ve tried and I’ve tried but I can’t find a solution to the problem I’ve become
I can’t find my community, a place where I can just be
I’m tired and I’m hopeless, lost in a labyrinth, trying to find a path back to me

Hey miss beg your pardon can you spare a dollar or two?
Miss don’t be scared, I’m harmless, no need to flinch and step away
Though god knows I must look awful, all skinny and pale, my eyes sunken and hollow
With an alcoholics glassy stare
My pants are stained with beer and sitting on the ground has worn them thin
My shirt is stiff with sour old sweat, but to tell the truth, I just don’t care
When I look in the mirror, I don’t know him, that tired old man looking back at me
In my mind I’m still young and handsome, not this shadow that I see
But what once was vibrant canvas, alive with colour and texture and depth
Has become just an outline, fading more every single day

Occasionally, especially on Sunday afternoons in spring, I’m ambushed without warning
By a hybrid thought and feeling, that this is it for me
This dirty blanket, these thin limbs, this plastic bag filled with my possessions
This shame that creeps up on me
This is what my life has come to, this is my legacy
And the grief cracks my heart so damn hard that it squeezes the breath right out of me
That’s when I must stop thinking, stop feeling, fade far away into me
So I reach for my smokes, strike a match, inhale deep
Count my fortune in coins, arrange them all neat
Look up at the passing people and again I make my plea
Hey there ‘scuse me can you spare some change for me?

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