In a torn hoodie, out of spite,
a beggar is alive tonight
beneath great failure and a gruff
snowstorm. He can’t get small enough.
Look how that innocence of his
as no hand ever offers up
even a quarter for his cup.
It’s hard to grin and keep the faith
when threads from Goodwill on West 8th
can’t keep the bitter from the bone.
None of us should be that alone.
I know his story: from the prairie.
He lives on eleemosynary
pittances but won’t go back,
since, out of spite, in spite of hack,
spit, shivers and a telltale fever,
he is the truest true believer
that ever took a Greyhound bus
to Penn Station to be with us.
I, who have starved, like him, in hope,
have nothing much to help him cope
with hunger, unsuccess, hard times:
just poetry and a couple dimes.
—from Rattle #77, Fall 2022
Aaron Poochigian: “Auden said, ‘Poetry makes nothing happen.’ I don’t agree with him but, more and more, I find myself wanting to, more immediately, make the world a better place. That is: I have poetry but it is not enough. All I can afford to do right now is foster kittens.” (web)