He Once Said

Written by: Odin Roark

He Once Wrote

How quickly the vanishing
Where once shone the sun
Now only skyscraper shade

Horse drawn wagons
Once parked below tenement smiles
As rope baskets lowered with coins
Sent back with apples and grapes

Knife sharpening push carts
Their grinding wheels
Ever turning razor sharp edges
Making cheap meat cut special

Tilted fedoras tipped
By cashmere-draped gangsters
Greeted numbers-hungry tenants
While knickered children
Ran their errands for pennies
Warning shop owners
They needed protection


Came post-war-family-building
Turning wanton streets alive
Baby strollers passed
Job hungry veterans passing
No Help Wanted signs
In slumlord heaven

How precarious his street became
Teetering between shelter and commerce
Preservation and extinction
Wrecking ball and obstinacy


Housing Department placed him elsewhere
He guessed
Missed the old stairs though
Sounds and smells
His special friends


Seems little comfort is left
Modern whoosh of elevators
Whirls of air conditioning
Frequent ambulance sirens
Stopping below
Providing the lucky ones
With their last ride

Boredom no more

He once wrote