Operation Alternative


Last night struggling through a downpour,

dead people rained in my mind, bodies I had hovered

over as E.M.T. protecting them from mundane rites

of doctors and police officers debating bmw’s and jaguars.

A hunched woman knocked me with her cane

and whispered, “Angel, Angel” and pointed

at store mannequins with half a head, only up to the nose

like some politicians I know. I was heading to my new job,

Operation Alternative for homeless people and I wondered:

What if George Bush walked in naked and hungry,

down and out after post-2004 elections? What if Ramal

said to me “He’s yours”? And what if I gave George a terry cloth

housecoat that said “anarchist antichrist” in big black letters

on the back and sent him with corn chips to the end

of the line? What if one of the fire breathing clients,

spat on George and stole his bourbon bottle?

Or what if the clients complained that he smelled

worse than newly polluted Texas? But what if George

complained that he was surrounded by dirty criminals?

“Just like the White House Mr. Bush,” I’d say.

What if I asked him for ID and he handed me his insider

trading papers? What if I pushed the black emergency button

behind the plexiglass and twenty cops came charging in

and jumped on and arrested the anarchist-cloaked George

for hiding a bottle? Poor dyslexic Prez. Oh Homeless Oh Inmates:

It’s just a stormy prophecy, I mumbled, wishing this were

a gay city where Mumia Abu-Jamal is honorary citizen

and where multi-parties and anarchists can be

and where a patriot act is a poet speaking for rights

of Guantanamo detainees and Geneva not Republican       

Conventions. I was following blurry city lights

to Operation Alternative where I opened the door on a dozen

longing eyes who welcomed my dripping face out of the rain.