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Ballad in a Bottle

by r. nuñez 4 years ago in social commentary
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A Poor and Desperate Shadow

Poor and Desperate Shadow

What kind of darkness compels a person to consider jumping off a ledge? In this story, it doesn’t really matter. This is a story with a dark subject, and it tells of the onlookers gazing up, but also the narrator looking at them. And in any situation like this, we never really know who might emerge the hero, do we?

‘Help me, oh, help me if you can’

Cried the poor and desperate shadow of a man,

‘I’ve lived a long, long time, but then,

I really do not know where I stand.

‘Help me, oh, don’t you see that I

Am about to take a fearful jump and die.

All day I’ve stood upon this ledge so high,

But all I ever seem to do is cry.’

Some people came around to see the show.

Oh, ain’t it funny how some people go?

‘…and why do you suppose he feels that way?’

‘…could be his woman left him today…’

A hobo started talking to the crowd;

He waved his arms and shouted very loud.

He said ‘Once I had a problem such as this,

But I never had an attitude like his.’

‘Help me, oh, help me if you can’

Cried the poor and desperate shadow of a man,

‘I’ve lived a long, long time, but then,

I really do not know where I stand.’

The policeman told the crowd to go away,

A minister was seen to kneel and pray,

The psychiatrist couldn’t think of words to say,

And the children all wandered off to play.

But the hobo found a way to join the man;

He said ‘brother, have a li’l nip while you can.

Let’s both get drunk together, me and you ...

And later, well, I just might join you, too.’

But they didn’t jump at all, as you might think;

They talked and laughed and surrendered to the drink.

And the last I heard, they hopped on the midnight train;

And no one ever heard of them again.

r. nuñez, ca. late 80s

social commentary

About the author

r. nuñez

I am a shamanic priest who loves to write stories, poetry, and songs. Retired, but still helping people, animals, and the planet.

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