What the City Does to You In Summer – Poem

What the City Does to You In Summer

This is what the city does
to you in summer: You are sitting
in the drive-thru line at the bank,
windows pressed against the car-

exhausted heat, when you see
a man, suited navy blue and crawling
in the street. He is screaming.
You cannot hear what he

is saying, and you are trapped
in a line that does not move
according to your need, so all
you can do is watch him grovel

in the road, and you wonder
if you’d help him even if you could,
thinking of the man last week
who asked for money outside your office;

you gave him five and he followed you
inside, demanding more, grabbing
your arm, rattling you like a tip jar
until security chased him away.

Kindness dies in this kind of heat,
and everything is ugliness.

Later, you won’t remember
the woman who got out of her seat
at the corner bus stop and dropped
down with him to the gutter,

fishing out a red-tipped cane
of white. You won’t remember
that the man was blind
and never crazy; all you’ll recall

is the screaming and the creeping
along the dirty curb, and imagine
the story ends with something
terrible, every time.


Week 93 – New Poem

I actually managed to write to a prompt for the second time ever. And, I only had about an hour to write this the day before it was “due.” It was late, I’d interned all day, and I was tired, but I wrote it anyway. This is new for me, people. I used to believe I needed oodles of time & energy to write poetry. Now, to write good poetry, that’s probably true. But I managed to write something while tired, and under time constraint, that I don’t totally hate. So yay for me.

Week 93*

– Sunday

No money
in the offering. No one’s
offering. I pass

– Monday

Offering a service
that no one
is buying. No more
a few dollars & I
am that number, a minus,
a blunder. Remainder of
after subtraction

– Tuesday

In the refrigerator:
& garnish. Nothing
substantial. Zero
nutritional value. The making
of something from nothing

– Wednesday

The fuel gage E
like a three-
pronged fork
on its side, defeated
& stabbing at air.

– Thursday

The paper costs
money. Paper
for paper. Ink
for the printer. To
sadden the paper
with past. Smalled
to one page. Résumé.
Resume. Refused.

in a cornered heap
of Others.

– Friday

The mailbox key
is stuck. Like a needle
on E. Envelopes stuffed
like yellow lettuce leaves
in a Styrofoam box. In-

– Saturday

Everything’s done. The phone
doesn’t ring. No one’s
offering. Cut
off. No more
extensions. I’ve been

*93 weeks is the maximum allotment of unemployment assistance.

For the We Write Poems weekly prompt.