Street Survival
For all the Abused people who didn't stand up their abusers

Teen-aged mother going
from cheap hotel to
cheap hotel cleaning rooms,
fucking desperate, failed men
for a meal and sleep


Boxer between the 
5th and 6th rounds, mouth
full of blood, gargling
antiseptic, soaked sponge
splattering against swollen
face, heart pounding, mind
full of information, ready
for the round of his life


Damp basement below
24-hour cafe, young
apprentice writer sitting
on ketchup cases under
dangling 75-watt bulb
at old typer; first crack
at seeing words beyond pencil


Short dumpy girl thrusts
dull religious pamphlets
at everyone, saying in
contemptuous piety, “YOU


A boy, a girl in an
abandoned warehouse
trying to beat the 
nightmares smoking
crack. Colorless
butterflies never to  
see the blood-red 
flowers making it through 
cracked cement as near 
as the warehouse's
scourged side nearest
the sunlight


Thick black, spray-can words
on tenement building's
windowless side

                              BROKEN PROMISES

                              BROKEN HEARTS

                              BROKEN BODIES

                    WATCH OUT!!! DEAD DREAMS

                              DEAD CHILDREN

                              DEAD WORLD

excerpt from The Athlete. Copyright © James Humphrey Trust.


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