Hobo by Rives

Hobo by Rives
August 26, 2011 Ruchir

I
I’m a hobo
in a comic strip,
dozing on a hill
underneath a tree–
I’ve got the soles
of my worn-out boots
flapping in the breeze
so my toes poke through.
I’ve got a long string of Z’s
growing from my lips like this:
Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z Z
and then one of these:
(wh-wh-wh-wh-w h i s t l e).
I’ve got a five o’clock shadow.
Got my stuff in a bundle.
Laid out below me
is a town called Next–
I’ve got a noggin full of songs,
got a story on my tongue,
but I’ve got absolutely
no other prospects.
II
I’m a hobo
in a comic strip,
strolling through town–
I keep my hobo nose up
and my pointy elbows pointed down.
“Good day, Sir! Ma’am!
Lovely baby in the pram!”
See–I’ve got pride enough
to last me past tomorrow,
cuz I never borrow,
never steal,
never beg–
not even when my thought bubble goes:
Chicken Leg.

But…what is that smell?
Over past the planter
with its tidy row of daffodils?
What is that cooling on the window sill?

My oh my–
it’s an apple pie.
With a crisscross crust.
And you know what else it’s got?
Those three squiggly lines
rising from the top.
Yep–the apple pie is piping hot.

Mmmmmmnn Mmnn!
Hmmmmmmnn.

Better think for a minute.
Turn my lucky pocket inside-out,
see if happenstance
maybe put a penny in it.

Unhh-unhh…

Better think.
Think.
Think of things
only a hobo knows:

Like how a hedgehog’ll run
the way his hedgerow goes.
How the cold sleet’ll eat you
when the North wind blows.
How the crickets chirp quicker
where the green corn grows.
How to tramp through manure,
come out smelling like a rose…

oooooop.

I get my lightbulb pose.
III
I’m a hobo
in a comic strip,
with a homemade bouquet–
I spent a good quarter hour
plucking just the perfect flowers.
So I take off my hat
when I step up on that stoop,
and I’m hoping this heat
doesn’t wilt these posies
so they droop
towards the Welcome mat
on the front porch floor.

When Va-va-va-voom comes to the door.

And she is so well-drawn,
so proportioned and pretty–
I figure: Maybe she moved here
from Comic Strip City–
she’s got those long eyelashes
and an apron on.

And this is how the hobo
and the homemaker meet:
Her with a speech balloon
looming overhead
like a typographic moon
going:
“Flowers? For me? How sweet!!”
And then awww how she blushes
when she gets a glimpse of mine,
going:
“Asterisk!
Exclamation point!
Ampersand!
‘At’ symbol!
Dollar sign, dollar sign…
You’re fine!”

(That next-to-last panel
is so much my favorite,
I should clip it out and stick it
to an icebox and save it–
cuz right there, right then
I’d see my heart, my hobo heart,
jump from my chest
and thump back again.)

IV
I’m a hobo
in a comic strip,
side by side
on a porch swing singing
with my comic strip bride.
We like to watch the fireflies
light up the dusk.
And I painted two pickets
on her white fence rust.
Reminds me of railroad tracks.
They say:
“Hey, mister, listen–
ain’t ya ever come back?
To whistling in the moonlight,
and pissing in the dust?”

And oh boy I just might.
And I might just not.
And I might let the notion
go done get forgot.
I mean, my oh my–

I get daily apple pie.

I’m a hobo
in a comic strip,
and every so often
I’ll tell folks stories
when I don’t really mean ‘em.

But oh don’t the twilight stars twinkle.
Don’t the honeysuckle blossom.
Don’t two lovebirds descend
with a banner between ‘em.

That’s right, friend:

The End.

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