THE BEGGAR KNEW MY NAME

beggar

He sat there watching the world slip by
Feet hustling past him like a blury image
Beenie hat on his head to protect from the cold
He wondered where everyone was rushing to
Do they even stop to smell the roses
Oh we are in the city
Only smoke from buses

Exhaust fumes from trains
Smoke from industries
Global warming at its best
He seemed lost in thought
Nothing seemed to faze him
He had seen it all
In these dark alleys
Filled with filth yet so much went on underneath
Rats fought with cats for food
Humans fought with the cats for the same filthy food
A filthy city within a more filthy city
Here he saw a man being mugged
Stabbed and left for dead
He only peeped through the carton boxes he covered himself with
Street hustling rules dictated that you never get involved lest your throat is slip
He witnessed a pimp mercilessly beat a prostitute for bringing in less cash
He saw the same pimp being whipped by hooligans as the same prostitute watched hurling explicits
He saw a girl not older than 15
Give cash in exchange for heroine
Out of the corner of his eye
He gasped as a drunk couple banging on the filthy walls in the throes of passion
These streets he had seen it all
Yesterday they dumped a dead body right in front of him and fled
Life was kinder to him he thought
All these ills he only saw waking up to another day
A day with its own expectations
His teeth gritted together as the wind blew
He had stopped stretching his hand at some point
No one really seemed to see the begging hand
Some brushed against it as they hurried past
He’s so filthy some said
Why don’t you just get eaten by rats
Insults he had grown used to
Even hardened
He just smiled sarcastically
Knowing he had more than them who fought to stay in the rat race
Days just seemed the same
Morning, noon, night no difference
This was the home he knew
“Hi Sam”
I thought i imagined it
Yet there he was
Clumped on the street corner
Tattered clothes
Haggered expression
He knew my name

Copyright September 2015

Mulunga Alukwe

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