Words Collecting Dust

I started writing poems
when I was fifteen years old,
working at a hot dog stand
on Michigan Ave for $ 5 an hour
feeding state workers
during their lunch time
and feeding the drunks
from the bar next door.
I would take a pencil
and write lines on a pad of paper
between orders from
the hungry and intoxicated.
My boss liked to drink
and snort a line or two
while my co-worker
turned me on to sticky buds.
I forgot about my childhood
as the hookers would come in
all dolled up and innocently painted,
carrying with them
a sweet scent of apples & tangerines
in the early afternoon
right before they went to work
over in Grant park where
a sawbuck would get them humming.
I wrote my words before closing
as the music blared and my boss
drank across the way in
the bar of lost days for its patrons
while my co-worker took deep hits
before cleaning up and closing.
The building on Michigan Ave
has been gutted and million dollar
apartments have pushed away
those drunks, fat poverty
& perfumed whores
Grant Park is silent
& full of cops and flowers but
I still have those words somewhere
my words, words collecting dust

by Charles Lara

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