POEM: SMOKETOWN AT DAWN

The streets are empty accept for those who slept in it

As the horizon turns to gold in Smoketown at dawn

The streets are quiet inside the walls

Of abandoned factories and antique homes

I step outside to light one up

I hear the whisper of the early traffic on Market Street

In an alley of peeling paint and tumbling papers

I sit down on the stones and enjoy the dawn.

 

Like a painting it captures the heart of the morning

Over the Square where people have just gone to bed

Ignoring the blight of the city around them

They stand against squalor like a sea in unrest

Some see me and sometimes they look away

I represent the torment, though with them I stand

But I might look like the Reaper himself

Pale like skeleton, so I understand.

 

Here I am in Smoketown at dawn

Many years after all of the smoke blew away

I walk, half-uninvited, from Hancock to Clay

Alone where people are lonely but hope is not gone

I do what they do and I see what they see

I hear what they hear and I know what they know

Alike we all think and talk and we walk

But sometimes I am outside, but I don’t look in

 

Gunshots and sirens sometimes wake the night

An urban orchestra about teardrops that race to the drains

In the streets before dawn when the moon’s at its apex

I can see spinning lights dance through the bars

As I lay in a house that is not without danger

But a place where I’m not always a stranger

I sleep in the arms of the sword-sharp city

Waiting for dawn to lead me to the fury.

 

Smoketown at dawn, before the blue sky

Comes bringing day and a newfound story

Another prelude to darkness, but not all is lost

For shadows do not appear without light

And light is the glory, but the dark is a passage

Between dreams and reality, defeat and victory

Dawn has no magic without the night

The night is the curtain that protects the day.

 

You might look upon us, down in the smoke

And think we despair as we stand on the corners

But we don’t freeze in the cold nor fade in the night

We don’t choke on the fumes, nor die in the gutter

We walk in the sunshine like everyone else

We breathe in the air that keeps us alive

We become one when the odds pile up

And we win some and lose some, but we still see the dawn.

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