Casa de Ricardo


What I Learned in Panhandling School

They tell me weakness
can be strength
and less money
an advantage.

The dumpster overflows
with food and gifts
from those who spout
that kind of shit.

They tell me conventions
can be ignored, rules
can be broken.
But my jaw aches
from the sucker punch
that cop got in
before he tossed me
in the backseat
of his fifty-grand cruiser.

They tell me effort
can trump ability
and insider status
can limit options.
I hold out
a filthy paw
until a coin drops in.

They tell me being an underdog
and not caring about
the established order
gives you freedom
to be who you are.

But I am invisible,
a garbage bin
for their platitudes,
sad dumpster
for spare change
on their way to
a kind of freedom
I can only imagine.