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Monday, July 17, 2006

In Moscow or New York, you see them everywhere…

You see them everywhere… or smell them anyway
Lying on abandoned steps, doorways
Sitting in the streets, in train stations
(amidst blinded eyes, sleepy eyes, weary eyes)
In dark worn out clothing, or none at all…
Stooping shoulders, heavy steps leading nowhere
Moving inch by inch—in prolonged agony
On endless streets filled with harried tireless footsteps
And footprints.

In Moscow, they’re white
With 50, 70, or a hundred years of silent desolation, isolation
In NY, there’s diversity in every way
They come in all ages and colors: white, black, brown…
In Moscow, women are in what used to be colorful shawls
Men in shapka or fur hats with ear flaps
All in fur-lined boots, when stationed on ice
Shifting weights, left to right, right to left
Trying hard not to freeze soles and toes
Nor to breathe their last on a snowy night
In NY, they’re in all kinds of clothing, out in any weather
All kinds of load on their backs
Or in rusty squeaking grocery carts
(Like miniature screaming trains in pain?)

In Moscow, they do the sign of the cross the Orthodox way
And hold out their palms in a mechanical way
They kiss your hand if you give them a ruble
In NY, they say “God bless you all
I’m homeless and hungry
Would you have a dime to spare?”
And when no one hears, some say
“Martin Luther died for nothing!”

In Moscow, they’ve seen isms — communism, capitalism
But what does it matter? They’re all isms anyway
Though now they argue “This is the price of capitalism”
In NY, what’s an ism when they say “Is this America?”
(Who cares about an ism, by the way?)

In Moscow or NY, you see them everywhere…
Or smell them anyway
Lying on abandoned steps, doorways
Sitting in the streets, in train stations
(amidst blinded eyes, sleepy eyes, weary eyes)
A collage of worn-out faces
Not making it to the skyscrapers
Not making it through the rush
Crushed beneath their dreams
The Russian dream, the American dream…

Jamison062906

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