Confession to Montgomery, Asleep on the Church Steps

bagels and cream cheese MGD©

Confession to Montgomery, Asleep on the Church Steps

If I walk quietly by
it is not to avoid disturbing you,

but rather myself. What
could I give you

but another bagel, the
boiled dough of nothingness

rising in cloudy water,
delaying, perhaps, another

guilty twinge. You have no
answers but when you

speak to the air, sometimes
a smile creaks through

the broken words, and I
think even in this cloistered

darkness we may close
the circle between halves

and might-have-beens,
an understanding, if only

in the language of bread
and coffee and the

disregarded. But today I stride
on, without pause, counting

on nothing that can’t be
pocketed or spoken aloud,

my steps echoing down
the alley and its secrets,

along the crosswalk’s painted
guides, under the sagging

power lines and through
your streetlight’s dim halo.


This first appeared on the blog in January 2016. I have not seen the man who inspired this poem in over a year. I hope he has found shelter and kindness.

29 thoughts on “Confession to Montgomery, Asleep on the Church Steps

  1. The recent figure of 40 odd million living in poverty in America was a shocking statistic to learn. i had to double back & read it again to make sure it was correct. This is an honest poem Bob, we often find ourselves baffled by the scale of the problem & feel helpless. i used to do something for some homeless people or mental ill people i met around Manchester, & i always disliked it when people would say “you can’t solve the problem giving them cigarettes & tea” or “if you give to one don’t you have to give to everyone you see?” i wanted to, but i knew the limits of my ability to help. But i thought just a small act of kindness, a cigarette, a cup of tea, a chat, to give them presence, i look back & think, that was something at least.

    Liked by 2 people

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