Avenue Man

A new poem written by me

Avenue man
I met him this morning,
on the 4th avenue,
the lanky, decrepit guy
clutching a fatigue hued travel bag,
unzipped partly as always,
a glass bottle peeping out
with municipal water, root beer,
snake oil, fresh milk
or kerosene in inorganic slumber.

At dawn, never on Sundays
but other days at random
on consecutive days seldom,
he crosses my path walking fast
clutching the bag always
like a sacrificial lamb,
on the
10th or 6th or 8th,
always an even numbered avenue.

Are you happy? Is everyone content?
Are there rains? Are there enough cigarettes?
The walker would always
enquire me like a privy-pursed monarch
blocking my way
looking into my eyes earnest,
that I avoid, don’t know why.

I muttered a response
Halting for a listless second
Like at amber on traffic;
Nodding in approval, placing the
military bag aside
he took out the bottle,
kept it upright on the pavement
unscrewing the cork,
as always.

Embarrassed to stand and stare
as one triggering his action
or adding to the entropy
I moved away quick.
Who is he? A conjuror who sure would
levitate for a plastic cup of
piping hot leaf tea golden or
roving mad, about to croon
the Beatles song with no sitar accompanying?
One from Mars
Or the occasional man from Venus
unaware of happenings here
sent to market time shares for all.

I’ll ask him one day p’haps
On a Sunday if I can,
is it a half-filled bottle
or half emptied.

Era Murukan 3rd December 2018

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