The Soapbox

Each morning he would wander to the park,
to sit beneath the lantern and to greet
the crowd that had come out just after dark.
They stood around the donut shop to eat
a fix of sugar mixed with jelly, to revive;
he'd rise above the crowd and gave his speech
and praised the Lord that he had kept them all alive.

His name was John but they would simply call him Teach.
A vagrant who had slept in the small shed
had painted a foul word onto the box,
he kept the brushes and the paint under his bed
his mates had baptised him the big Madeira Fox.

Soapbox now ruined he climbed the bench to start his spiel,
though there was something quite disturbing in the air,
a voice rang out and called the fellow a Schlemiel
he was unkempt and carried beetles in his hair.

They found it fascinating how the vagrant talked
and that he smelled of something strange from every pore,
they followed him wherever the man walked
in hot pursuit of the charisma of a whore.

Now at a loss, the one called Teach just stood and stared.
Was this a sign of the beginning of the end
and were the times that they in happiness had shared
a silly dream and did he have a single friend?

by Herbert Nehrlich

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