He looks crazy.
Red lightning bolts of blood
shoot through his eyes
the whites gone yellow like sour milk
while dark pools peer out holding
shadows within
the shadows he sees from the corners
of his eyes
He’s clearly insane.
Hair matted and locked
like Dred Scott in the prison
of his mind–he’s a slave
in a free state of this nation
while the State of the Nation applauds another year
of liberty, indivisible,
he’s an outlaw
he’s the invisible man
the shaking cup in his hand and his hand-me-down cloak
work like magic, make eyes slide
away from him, guiltily
til he becomes just a ghost to avoid
while we
annoyed by the brief interruption of our
comfortable lives, don’t stop walking
don’t stop to realize that he belies
the national myth of prosperity;
in these mean streets where we
daily ignore our fellow man
don’t give him a glance, much less
a helping hand, we
look away from the shame
of our acclaimed democracy

And he becomes crazy
–so we can look away–
–so he can take the blame–
–he’s a threat for us
the man who doesn’t have a name
the man we call crazy
when really
we’re the ones who must be