The Search

WalmartMan

The search begins and ends
in this same spot every day,
where the concrete beneath me
is as hard as a cold-blooded heart
but as giving of daylong warmth
as a full bottle.

The seeking is much better at night,
when you can’t see the memories
in the face of the sun.
Those are the ones that hurt
if you stare too long at them.
And faces are meant to be ignored.

Illumination and clarity
are overrated anyway when
what you’re trying to remember
is how to forget, and the memory
is as rough as this concrete upon
which the search begins and ends.

I prefer the hard and warm
of this perch, and the comfort
of that bottle, to the soft
and cold arms that won’t let me
go, chill and flaccid as
the lips they drew to mine.

A raw free write for Kellie Elmore’s photo prompt below the title. The arresting photo is by Kellie, as well.

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28 thoughts on “The Search

  1. These lines
    “when you can’t see the memories

    in the face of the sun.

    Those are the ones that hurt”
    Brilliant. Just brilliant and true. Beautiful as always Joe.

  2. You feel the futility and frustration in this piece, but also a sense of comfort. Comfort from a bottle, but comfort nonetheless. “to the soft/and cold arms that won’t let me/go, chill and flaccid as/the lips they drew to mine.” I got the shivers from those lines.

  3. Very nice addition to the OLN, Joe; a great photo prompt, and a stunning poem that comes out of it. I love poetry about the street life, the homeless, the lost, the buskers, street artists; it somehow grounds me, kicks off some kind of urban angst; thanks.

  4. Oh my… this is poignant and raw and left me with the taste of Ironweed in my mouth.
    I especially loved this:
    “Illumination and clarity
    are overrated anyway when
    what you’re trying to remember
    is how to forget”

  5. ‘The seeking is much better at night,
    when you can’t see the memories
    in the face of the sun..’ – there’s such deep melancholy felt within these lines. a very moving poem, Joe..

  6. Joe, I write a lot about homeless folks, and so much of the alcohol problems, etc. come from the need for mental health care. There, but for the grace of insurance, go I.

    The line, “…what you’re trying to remember is how to forget,” resonates. You really had a handle on this guy, Joe. A very wise and worldly poem. Amy

  7. You put me right into the mind of this desperate man.Joe. Yes, and the line that smacked me between right between the eyes was “what your trying to remember…” Excellent character sketch and insight into such a difficult problem.

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