I sit on the corner
of Broad and Vine
my battered basket
by my side.
I scrutinize the shoes
of men who pass by
and compare them
to those
which hang on my feet.

with newspaper
hiding the holes
I pray
that the cop
who gave boots
to the beggar
in New York
will pass by my corner.

I know though
that he won’t.
I’ve seen the article
which tells the story
of that grifter’s
subsidized apartment
and thirty
pairs of shoes.
I recognize
that as he
and his like
rip off
the Good Samaritans
they are stealing
from me as well.

I am cold
and my bones ache.
I pack up
the stale sandwich
and bus fare
which make today’s take
and return to the doorway
where I sleep
in my shoes

(Written for dVersePoets, Open Link Night, Week 90, April 2, 2013.)

This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Short Fiction, Short Story and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

15 Responses to “Shoes”

  1. Great observations and I love the cyclical nature of this. This was an enjoyable read, and good Lord, how many poems can you say that about?

  2. brian miller says:

    mm..its a hard life for those on the street and no way to change it…having not…the comparison of shoes…i would hope they get some new ones…i know a few that would be happy with ones sizes big they could stuff with old newspapers to make fit….

    • vbholmes says:

      Homelessness is a sad commentary–unfortunately, in some cases, it is impossible to help the individual as they don’t want to change their circumstances. Hopefully, others will benefit from aid–and some just want a new pair of shoes.

  3. tashtoo says:

    Wow…a real sense of defeat…of being stuck in a system that doesn’t recognize the truly needy, a society that would steal from one with less, and leave them sleeping in a doorway. The thirty pair shoe collection really sums it up. Fantastic piece!

    • vbholmes says:

      Many thanks, Tashtoo. It is difficult to see how one can callously exploit the system at the expense of those who are in need. Unfortunately, the situation exists at all levels of society–the scam just gets more sophisticated as the size of the reward increases..

  4. I like the way you brought in the story of the policeman and the homeless man and how that man was ripping off the truly homeless and shoeless.


  5. Mary says:

    This is such a sad tale. Ugly about the grifter who lived in a subsidized apartment and had 30 pairs of shoes and who took, therefore, what others in need REALLY needed. I hope there aren’t too many like that; and truly I hope that people who are homeless find their way out of the corners and the cold. Well written.

    • vbholmes says:

      I fear the scam artist will always find a way to turn a buck, and if his venue is the street corner, he’ll catch the eye of the passerby first. Sad.

  6. Beth Winter says:

    Sad, strong, well-crafted story telling. Homelessness is rampant and although there are programs to help, they fall short of needs and are targets for those who abuse the generosity.

  7. Sabio Lantz says:

    Horrible lives for many indeed. (BTW, I think that plural on my post was accurate, don’t you?)

  8. vbholmes says:

    Some feel it’s better than the nightly search for a spot in a shelter where they might be robbed–hard to know which is worse.

  9. That’s quite sad, especially since it’s pretty common. It just goes to show that those of us with shoes need to pay attention to what others are wearing as well.

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