By Daniel Thompson


It’s raining, I’m on the West Side to get my thumb X-rayed.  Was it Lutheran

Where Uncle Art died?  I cut through the Market through decades of fruits

And vegetables to World War II.  There I am again with Sis on the way to school

In this arcade, where everything’s alive and tells a story

Like poor, young Sweet Potato, after telling Cherry Tomato they cantaloupe

‘Cause he’s squeezed dry making payments on that lemon they’re driving

Goes out with the boys for a spinach, pulls up to the nearest pumpkin

You help us? We need asparagus.  Beet it, cries a big grape, who looks like

He belongs in the Zucchini see we’re closed, and throws Corn out on his ear

I’d call that a cauliflower, Artichokes with emotion and swings open the car door

Avocado, desperado.  The boys jump out swinging like Tarzan and the apricots

I don’t wanna die-ah, says the Papaya.  Call me cabbage.  I’m leaving. Too late

After the Rhubarb wires home Lima for beans, the boys’re bailed out of jail

And they sail off to work.  But it’s not up to parsley, so the eggplant’s out

On strike.  Pears of goons on celery stalk picket limes, peppering them with insults

You dirty radishes, this is the last strawberry the hatchet or we’ll brussel your sprouts

Turnip tomorrow, you’ll get more than the raspberry, you’ll go home with a pineapple

Up your ask me no questions, I’ll tell you no lying sweet talk, say Sweets

And pulls out a banana, splits open those sons of peaches, pits and all

He really creams them, so Broccoli surrenders to the Onion, love is everywhere

Sweet potato grabs Tomato, Yam nuts about you, honeydew, lettuce, tangerine

You can see I know my peas and cucumbers, and no unrhymed orange

Nor crazy plum could have made me hum that day happy as a watermelon

Only carrots, loud and hard as nails.  What’s in the bag, kid? Updoc

Bugs Bunny on the streetcar, I eat my roots, roll my eyes heavenward and salute

Now, lucky me, I’m two wars older, running late as usual

Where is everyone? O, it’s Thursday, the Market’s closed. Our friends

The fruits and vegetables are off today.  The arcade’s almost empty

There are only those crossing guards who wish to keep dry and these gentlemen

Who do not, the morning body count.  Are you my lost uncle, my brother

Itinerant artist, veteran of the starvation army?  Last night was it the slammer

Or a hallelujah flop?  And you, old man, you know by heart those nameless dogs

Where your dead soldiers lie.  Why are you so grave, sailors?  You’ve tailor-mades

I see. Your’ve no port, no muscatel.  Well  you’ve come together this day unsaved

A black-toothed crew—tattooed, blue open flies, eyes of salt and humor, surviving

War and rumors.  I can catch images of myself, my breath in the bad air, hurry on ….


Copyright Homeless Grapevine Issue #23, Cleveland, Ohio