Ray Lucero

Odyssey Of An Old Man - Poem by Ray Lucero

The old man shuffled along the sidewalk on worn-out shoes.
Shoes once so shiny, that you could see your face in them.
Long ago the original owner had tossed them in a dumpster,
where the old man found them.

How had the old man come to this?
It was not that long ago he was living the “American dream”.
He had it all…wealth, position and family.
But now he walked the streets aimlessly, like some phantasm.

A corrupt economic system and Company down-size broke him;

35 years of loyal service to a Company was rewarded with layoff,
only a few months before retirement.

Wall Street criminals had already robbed the old man of his retirement.

Unaffordable interest rates from an “Adjustable Rate Mortgage”,
made payments impossible. The bank foreclosed.

Unable to secure another job in his specialty field along with the harsh truth,
that nobody wanted to hire a man pushing 62 sealed his economic doom.

The broken man took to drinking. First it was red wine and beer,
and eventually…anything cheap.

His wife ran away with an old high school sweetheart and moved to Florida.
The old man’s children had left home years before and though painful,
were spared the trauma of mom and dad’s divorce.

Living on the street wasn’t so bad. The burden of day to day struggle,
to make a living had lifted and liberated him. The dumpster behind,
a downtown restaurant provided meals and a nearby freeway overpass
provided shelter.

Eventually the old man saw no need to drink because the old memories,
and negative events had faded. This gave him more time to think and just be.

Yes…life wasn’t bad at all.


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Poem Submitted: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Poem Edited: Tuesday, August 31, 2010

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