I am the one you kick cans at as you pass me in the street.
I am the one with the dirty hair and the scruffy clothes.
I am the one you cower from and snarl at as you pass my feet.
I am the one you pretend you can’t hear or blatantly ignore as I mutter ‘Spare change please’.
I was like you once I had a home, a family a smile. Now I have my dog.
I fought for the country so that you can remain free.
I would have given my life, now I sleep under a tree.
I feel sad sometimes when I dream of my army days I wish I could be strong and smart and respected once again.
You call me a wino, a bum, a tramp an alcy. I am probably all of those.
I have nightmares of friends blasted to pieces that haunt my thoughts, the screams of soldiers no older than 20 as they burnt to death from grenades. They were my friends.
Today it's summer and at least I won't be too cold I have a blanket some chips and my dear dog patch. While intoxicated I am numb and your taunts aren’t as hurtful. I can almost laugh them off. As you walk by with your shopping bags and your clean clothes in glorious oblivion.
And now winter arrives my fourth year on the streets and I feel hardened to the noises and the street lights that buzz and the lack of sleep. But as I sleep the cold sets in and the ice begins to form. Finally I can rest.