Inner city vagrant, he’s in a mood;
he’s off his head on speed, and paranoid;
he’s cranky-cross and pumped with attitude;
all common courtesies are null and void.
He’s seething with anger, hate and contempt;
his agitated eyes cast a wide net;
they pierce deeply and leave no-one exempt;
all must bare the weight of his drug-fuelled threat:
“What’s your problem, you faggot, I’ll kill you!
You want to try me, and see if I won’t?”
Ignoring him makes it worse, makes him brew;
he baits your reaction, bites if you don’t.
. Nothing calms the storm of a derelict mind,
. puts the rest of us in an awkward bind!
© Tim Grace, 9 January 2012
To the reader: Sad or bad … I’m not sure the difference is of immediate concern; best not to engage in a cerebral debate. This moment is all that matters and making the most of it is best handled through instinct. Think too long, about your reaction, and he’ll interpret that as a responsive attack. This manoeuvre is all about a discrete retreat from a phoney-engagement. The contrived incident shatters; he’s gone… elsewhere bound; the summer storm has passed.
To the poet: A poem like this has to brew with foreboding. The words need to jolt and clash. It has to be an uncomfortable read. It’s an incident report. The cranky context is the third-party defined in the first two words but never again mentioned. What remains is character description. The vagrant storm explodes with verbiage and then passes with no sign of abatement; the relief is an awkward conclusion.