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Poems By Poet Laurence Overmire  10/10/2015 2:42:34 PM
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By Chance, While Jogging

Jogging down the road, bright clear warm day
Past a home for the elderly, retirement place of some sort.
Old, old man in front of me, barely moving, foot by foot, seeming lost.

I pass quickly, meaning to avoid some interaction.
He stops. “Help me, please. Help me.”
I stop.

“Can you help me? I need to cross. Fire hydrant.”
Fire hydrant? There is no fire hydrant. “You want to cross the street? ”
“I want…I don’t feel so well. I shouldn’t have come out, but…”

“Here, take my arm.”
He grabs hold, a frail tiny man, stooped a bit, maybe five feet tall.
Down from the curb, his weight drops to heavy-soled shoes.

I raise my hand to stop an oncoming car.
We cross slowly, step by painful step.
The River Jordan was not so wide.

“You going to the bus stop? ”
“There.” He points to the bench across the way.
We reach the other side, leave the vast asphalt expanse behind.

He heaves his leg above the opposite curb, a landing of fresh-mown grass.
“You okay? ” I ask.
Catching his breath, “My name’s Jack McGrath. I’ve lived there 25 years.”

We shake hands. “Thank you, ” he says.
Our eyes meet for the very first—and last—time. “Thank you very much.”
Old gray eyes deep set in a grizzled unshaven face. “You’re welcome.”

We understand each other in this timeless moment.
We both see the future.
And for a moment we are brothers on the same journey.

Our hands unclasp, I turn my back and walk away.
Then run, alive into a gust of wind.
Looking back, over my shoulder, I see his small form huddled on the bench.

For a bus to come
And take him away.

(Previously published in Kookamonga Square, July 2000)
Laurence Overmire



Caliban In Moonlight

Seeing things as we do
Making judgments of good or bad
Right and wrong
Dismissing out-of-hand
Sans cognizance or reflection

We miss the opportunity

To experience life from a different perspective
To see virtue in a flaw of nature
To know transcendence
The leap from the norm of ordinary
To that which is gifted and truly

And in our handicapped, club-foot vision
The world is made smaller
Mortal and unworthy
A speck of dust in the eye of a

(Previously published in Poets International, May 2014)
Laurence Overmire




1 a.m. in Brooklyn
Out of the subway’s cold, enveloping dark
The man emerges
Briefcase in hand, hurrying to get
Wary eyes watching, glance in all directions.

The streets deserted, foreboding in the stillness
The light of lamps unable to spell the lingering dread
Shadows creeping across the brick
Inside vestibules where doors are locked.

Walking faster
Past shops barricaded with steel curtains
Fortification against the night
While somewhere in the deepening fog
A siren bleeds.

At the end of one long block
Another two to go
Just outside a closed café
Something on the sidewalk
By the sewer grate
Large and—what—?

A body.
Lies unmoving.
Alive or dead? What to do?
Finger nails polished, red on pale white skin
Face down, tucked and covered in dark hair.
What to do? To get involved in what?
In Brooklyn 1 a.m.

Not my business, not to know
He thought
Move on, she must be sleeping
Drugged or drunk
Someone else will stop.
The hour is late
A morning’s rise at 6 a.m.
Meetings to be deadlined
No time to waste
She must be sleeping.
Someone else behind me
Someone else will
Move on.

In the slanting rays of the rising sun
The bustling of a new and proper day
Keepers opening windows, shops
He walks past quickly
A bright cafe
An empty sidewalk
Nothing by the sewer grate
But stuck in his head forever
The nagging not knowing
Alive or dead? He didn’t stop.

(Previously published in Kookamonga Square, Feb.2003)
Laurence Overmire



Cowboy Balladier (Haiku)

Cowboy balladier
Memories rising like smoke
Sad songs, fire and stars
Laurence Overmire
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Poems By Poet Laurence Overmire