A homeless person panhandling at the corner of Herald Place and Franklin Ave Dennis Nett/The Post-Standard.

My heart bleeds,

as the man on the corner stands

with his sign, in the 100 degree weather.

Persistently he waits for others to send him

coins through the sky, that quickly make up

the room fees, for where he’ll sleep tonight.

No one knows that he can stack bricks

faster than the man in the middle

of the truck driving by,

no one asked!

He’s a fifty-five year old man.

His name is Red, and one day

he fell on hard times the minute

he injected the noise into his veins

that would fill his ears

with his own self destruction!

Even now as he stands in the sunlight

under the overpass of his life,

he knows that someday soon,

someone will come and scoop

him up and take him

to the next phase, his better days ahead.

The other man, the little man, under the bridge

who waits for Red on the corner,

to turn the trick of making the coins

to settle in for the night in a rented room

a roof over their heads, never moves.

This little man never cares if Red

is dying from waiting for the coins to come.

The man on the corner,

the fifty five year old Red,

has cried a river,

and still stands waiting his turn

to end this part of his life,

and today it has come!

She drives up and scoops him into her car,

and he weeps at her feet – knowing

that today his life will change,

it will never be the same.

Intoxication after intoxication will now

turn into detoxification

as she takes him to a new life of unknown days,

waiting for him to eat and know

that today, is the first day of the rest of his life!

Will he jump to his future?

Or will he run back under the bridge

where his days were as empty as

his veins are now, as he detoxifies

all the impurities of life.

His mother and father, his life and days

all gone by, all pouring onto the floor

as he empties his soul, his veins of his past

and starts anew.

This beautiful soul is one of many

who stand on the corners of our life

and wait for anyone, someone to come

to help them find the paradise we all

seek in our darkest of days.

This man, this Red, now has days to

cherish, and nights to call his own.

Sandie Heckman


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