It is the early morning commuters who see me first
they rush past in their ties and blazers
wrinkle their noses, avert their gaze, stare at the ground.
The mothers follow next on their way to school
they recoil in disgust, horror, pity
they pull their children away from me, crossing the road.
It is the children who are the kindest
they peer at me curiously, inquiringly, quizzically
no judgement on their face; they see me clearest.
they smell me before they see me
they see lank hair underneath a thick woollen hat
they see the cardboard I use as mattress in the doorway.
They see my crooked yellow teeth and squinted eyes
they see my sleeping bag with holes in
they see my dog, my unconditional companion.
Believe me, I am ashamed;
the homeless man, the man without residence,
the man without a roof, the hobo.
The posters in bus stations say kindness kills
I’ll use your money to buy cocaine and vodka
and I will.
Off my face on smack so I don’t see yours
Repulsion etched on every wrinkle
Hallucinate to comfort from my painful reality