Outcasts and Neerdowells and Hope

They line the streets outside forming For soup or whatever it is they serve When doors open.

Most bum cigarettes, a few drink rubbing alcohol and others find dehydration through crystal meth. Some have lost their minds.

Some faces stare down at the sidewalk Searching for answers that don’t exist. Some faces talk endlessly with flailing arms extended and pointing out injustices.

A few have that 1000 yards hangover stare that reminds everyone that the pain still remains and isn’t going anywhere, except…

A face I haven’t seen in 15 years. I search for his name. He’s talking. His eyes are clear, his handshake strong. Paul? “I just stopped trying to quit.” He said . “I stopped fighting. Got to go to work now.”

He says, “Goodbye and God bless.”

Dennis Mantin

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