Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

 

 

Grinning Man South of Market
 
Grinning man
shouts directions
to driver
and pedestrian
at the corner
South of Market.
 
It’s not likely
that he’s right –
his instructions
are cosmological,
the streets he shouts
are stars.
 
A suit on foot
with bejeweled wife
or clandestine candy
on his arm
eyes the grinning man
with deep suspicion.
 
No thanks
from the corporate
for the cold distraction,
on his traverse
from satin
to perverse.
 
“Step over
the woman
who has
no legs!”
the grinning man
shouts.
 
“Step over
the can
where she gathers
her daily
scraps
and wage!”
 
Suit on foot
and glitter companion
do miss the can,
but trample instead
unheedlingly
on her invisible limbs.
 
At their crushing step
there is pain
that no one feels –
no one but
the homeless,
invisible woman.
 
No one but
her grinning,
shouting mate,
directing traffic,
and mapping stars
without pay.

 


 
Roy Conboy is a writer of Latinx/Irish/Indigenous descent whose poetic plays have been seen in numerous small theaters in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Portland and elsewhere, sharing the stories and struggles of the people and families he’s encountered along the way. He’s taught writing and theatre at San Francisco State for more than 25 years.