...many, many, versions later...
Critiques more than welcome!
An apparition rises a lump at a time, like dough
struggling to overcome the careless measurements
of a baker who has been guzzling beer intended
for beer bread. Fudged on the yeast, or let it go bad.
Rising, the apparition takes on the general shape
of a human. Height --even stooped-- and the amount
of grizzle, say it is a man. The coat that’s wearing
him looks like it was custom-made for a Wall Street
pirate, arms runner, or jetting tycoon, then run over
by an eighteen-wheeler during a rainstorm.
Things hang from it that are not made of cashmere.
Things hang from the hair that reaches halfway down
the back of the coat. Grey as London fog. Everything
in this alley is. Sunlight can’t go through walls.
The man suddenly sinks to the pavement and
goes back to being a ghost. Like he was never
here. Never had a name or an address. Never
had friends and a family and a job. Been defaced,
then erased, The End. And, the person watching
thinks, I am not him. He is not me.
And the apparition closes its eyes and thinks,
He thinks I am not him. He thinks he is not me.
And the watcher moves on.
A woman sleeping against a door marked Do not Enter
is next. She is bundled in so many clothes, it takes several
looks to see there’s a person inside. Clothes are faded
and ragged, but clean. How does she keep them that way?
flits through the watcher’s mind. She is almost bald.
Did she have chemo, or it is malnutrition? How can she sleep
twisted in a knot? How does she walk in those shoes?
Is someone looking for her? Does someone haunt areas
like this and prod passersby to look at photographs
of a woman with an impish grin and sparkling dark eyes
and repeat, repeat, and repeat, “Ever seen her? You
sure? Be older. Probably lost weight. Hair’re gray,
I expect. Just got lost, y’know? Happen to any--
. . .you’re not listening! Somebody has to listen!!
The woman under Do not Enter is almost too bundled
up to see, but it looks like she blinked. Why bother
to look? the watcher thinks. These people are nothing
And the woman thinks, I am you. I am you.
You are ME.
(c) Phyllis Jean Green
Angels That Care
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|Reviewed by Regis Auffray
|This is deeply compelling and thought-inciting, Pea. Your verses almost "demand" that the reader pay attention. Thank you. Love and best wishes to you,
|Reviewed by Muhammad Al Mahdi
|Yeah, that's it. Last line and working towards it is very strong. Fine intro. The observation, of course, is of extraordinary importance. The form does justice to the subject and shows its full dimension. A great achievement here is the fact that the woman is not a spectre or a cliche, but very real, life-like and fully present in the poem.|
|Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner
|Love how you pull us in and make us SEE ... fantastic, (((Pea)))! Love this (and you).
|Reviewed by Diana Wiles
|Compelling, beautifully written and very emotive reading...a subject that affects us increasingly here in the UK ..so many now homeless and cold right now with plummeting temperatures within that 'grey London fog'...
The phrase 'there but for the grace of god...' takes on new meaning...
This Really hits the mark for me...
Best wishes, Diana...
|Reviewed by Erin Kelly-Moen
|Exquisite, Pea!! Very unsettling during and after reading, with your watchers eyes, and your word choices, strung like a tarnished neclace, made dreary details shine through with a powerful punch, I could see it in my mind's eye. I am you, you are me.. Love this!
|Reviewed by Vivian Dawson
|Right "through" the looking glass on this
one *Phyllis* handing out a mirror for Us!!!
|Reviewed by Jon Willey
|Pea, this is reality too often in today's environment of personal tragedies and a population numbed, overwhelmed with growing uncertainty and despair -- learned men and woman have become statistics and lost their identity -- hope is the fading light growing more faint by the moment -- intense look at life in America today -- I bid you joy and peace my dear friend -- Jon Michael|
|Reviewed by Karen Vanderlaan
|poignant writing--right to the core-i love this kind of writing--it gets to ones soul!|
|Reviewed by Carole Mathys
|Outstanding piece Pea on an ongoing sad fate of the homeless. Brilliant write! Carole~|
|Reviewed by Mr. Ed
|And the woman thinks, I am you. I am you.
You are ME.
How so sadly true, especially these horrendous days. Like Patrick, I often spend time in depressed areas chasing after starving, left behind dogs, and I now sadly see more and more humans and canines in desperate need of some help.
|Reviewed by Patrick Granfors
|Don't know where to start. Remarkable piece. I've spent a lot of time near skid row and you've covered much more ground than that. I've been lumped. Patrick|
|Reviewed by Kenny Moon
|Good spectral poem here,Phyllis! Like Poe's William Wilson face-to-face with his doppelganger and namesake. The ectoplasmic rise of the doughy apparition very convincing, like my dream of a few nights ago - a rubbery hand pulled me out of the door - gotta be something spooky! Bill Murray should look into it .... the ghostly Den of otherworldly poets.
|Reviewed by jude forese
|powerfully fused with concept, imagery and ideological social perspective ... a good read, Phyllis ...|
|Reviewed by D. Vaineo
|Sad but true, the homeless are everywhere...don't hear
the politicians with a plan to eleviate the problem.
Phyllis, powerful stuff.
|Reviewed by Debby Rosenberg
|The first part gave me fhashes of that "Beatlejuice" movie, but the later paragraphs tugged deeply into this heart.|
|Reviewed by Mary Ann Biddinger
|Startled to peering in at the reality of street survival.
Marvelous work ~ Phyllis ~ Lady Mary Ann
|Reviewed by Christine Tsen
|A fabulously interesting juxtaposition ~
of how the watcher is doing the invading as she is watching them, and yet she distances herself from their existence, probably because it is what she sees as an unpleasant existence... However, the woman under the sign does her own invasion of the watcher's space by connecting with her and underscoring their sameness. xx
|Reviewed by Marcia Duning (Reader)
|Depressing but very true. Guess where this will go.|
|Reviewed by Lonnie Hicks
|Wow Phyllis, you skillfully used misdirection to coax the reader to engaging, and once engaged you made this powerful statement not only in regards the poor or the homeless. You made us understand a much larger lesson, there but for luck go I.
And still more: At base this is a lesson in true religion and the matriculations of the golden rule. That is a lot to pack into a single piece.