Hamid from Egypt

Posted: December 12, 2015 in Poetry

In the back stockroom
Of the downtown Safeway,
I worked with an old man named Hamid.
He was a PhD in history who
Was forced to flee
His own country.

We weren’t alone.
There were the cockroaches,
And the mice, and some gnats.

And there were lines
And lines of
Destitutes.

Of homeless people
With forsaken brows
And furled beards.

Of bag ladies
Without illusion, hope
Or femininity.

Of trendy yuppies
Who were overpaid
And smug.

Of gutter punks
Dirty, stinking,
And unapologetic
Or hip kids
Posing
As gutter punks.

Of party-time college boys
Looking to drink,
Fuck and spawn.

Me and Hamid saw it all.
The working types. The artsy types.
The hippie types. The average types.
The druggie types.

We put the cans in large
Plastic bags. The bottles were a bit
More difficult, because they came in different
Shapes and sizes. We sorted and stacked
Them on pallet boards
Like slaves
Building a pyramid.

* Originally posted on Haggard and Halloo July 12, 2009

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