T (no first name) Wignesan

Ballad: Just Another Odd Guy

He was just another odd guy
With a self-abnegating smile
He spun no known wilful ploy
Enough – just look at him a while

Others came to camp by the Seine
And watch the folks saunter by
His place by the Pont, it was plain
No one ever wished to occupy

He made no show of his wild child’s face
Querying side-boards curled round ears
Nor no look of pain would surface
From behind the mask’s ravaged years

He was just another odd guy
With a self-abnegating smile

Meek children looked him in the eye
Where some gleam of mutual ties shone
Babies blinked hardly an eye
To take in his clucked smile forgone

No hint of a past hung o’er him
No woman came by with a flask
Nor some grown lad with the shopping
He emerged from behind a mask

He spun no known wilful ploy
Enough – just look at him a while

No regrets sagged down his full lips
His chin held firm and tipped upward
Bushy brows spoke well of his tips
Though crown to nose-bud bit wayward

One could read weary clothes threadbare
His shoes could speak of miles out-worn
And the wriggly strands of his haïr
Reminded one of wild thoughts torn

Doves and crows alike found his hand
Outstretched with crumbs from some table
No sparrow stilled on wing sought land
Without some morsel to unravel

Weeks went by in screeching silence
And still no sign of him rode where
His winged friends kept in his absence
The stone-slabbed bench warm through bare air

Some unsuspecting passer-by
Wrapped in lone airs comes to this spot
Makes as if to stay with a sigh
Yet moves along to some other plot

He was just the other odd guy
With the self-abnegating smile
His trusted friends all gone to fly
In weird worlds beyond the last mile

All looking for that other guy
With his empty hands and a smile
He would spin no known wilful ploy
Just remember him for a while

• After posting the poem, I came across the line:
« I’m just an average guy » in the Masqueradors’
song of 1969, so I’m constrained to change the same
phrase in my poem to: « Just another odd guy. »
Things like this happen when we use words.

© T. Wignesan – Paris, 2013

Submitted: Thursday, June 06, 2013
Edited: Thursday, August 01, 2013

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