Tanko


Empty pockets with an elegant stride

A rare trait from a have-none

A gentle gait with an uncommon swagger

Its easy to see that a fresh pair of shoes make the difference

Freshly handed down

What does it matter fresh is fresh

It would take a lot more to stop his shine than a jacket two sizes bigger

Thanks to that discarded golf club he can lean right while he walked

With cola nut colored teeth he traded smiles with passersby for quick glances of embarrassment

Crowned with an age beaten hat adorned with the memory of a once colorful feather

Often times he boasted how it came from a rare bird

But the only DNA it carried came from a factory in China

Trouser pants with bottoms that were too friendly with his knees and shy of his feet

Whistling kept his day bright and alerted the kids he was walking by

Where to?..they never quite figured out

But on his return his stride was slower and graceless

Making half turns at street corners with both feet and his entire body at a time

Like a piece of plywood blown by the wind

Holding on to a green bottle like a drowning man to a small boat

He often paused to turn its content over

Like its magic juice was his only way home

Nine out of ten times he never quite made it home

The neighborhood gutter was always comfortable enough to break his journey

Wife and kids I never knew if he had

To sweeten the taste of gossip we christened him Tanko

But everyday like sunset and sunrise he was sure to bless our street with his ceremonious coming and going

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