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Published:December 21st, 2013 15:56 EST
Poems - Events That Happened in Paris

Poems - Events That Happened in Paris

By Ed Roberts

In 2005 I wrote a poem about an event that took place in Paris

A new poem that unfortuneatly answers an older one

Tragedy Within Arms` Reach

He lay there
Wearing his trench coat.
You could still see
The faded snowmen and snowflakes
Of the thin red blanket
The one he had picked up at a thrift store
That he tried hard to cover his body with
Each night.

He lay there
At the foot of a small oak tree
Two feet away from the sidewalk
Within arms` reach
Of the people that now passed him by.

It was two o`clock in the afternoon.
People would shake their head
As they scurried on.

"Get a job "
One man uttered
In not so soft of a voice.

Try not to stare "
One woman warned her children
As she hurried them along their way.

He just lay there by the sidewalk
Ignoring them all
Paying them no notice
Letting them go about their everyday routine.

He lay there at six o`clock
As many left their jobs
And started their daily trek home

Wasn`t he here this morning? "
One man thought
As he hurried to catch the bus.
No, it couldn`t be him "
He assured himself
These bums all look alike. "

He lay there
All that evening
The next day
And the next

Tightly wrapped in his thrift store blanket
Wearing his dark black trench coat
Two feet away from the sidewalk
Under a small oak tree

He lay there
And no one stopped to notice
That he had frozen to death
Several nights before.

He lay there
A frozen tragedy
And all this time
Two feet away from a sidewalk
Easily within so many arms` reach.

Such a sad tale
You might sigh to yourself.

What you must realize

What you must force yourself to understand is
This is not a simple poem.

This was yesterday.
This was Paris.

I wonder
How many other cities
Could this have been as well?

Ed Roberts 11/29/05


Unfortunately this was answered by my latest poem, and the answer is here.

Words, too late for Terry

The last thing Terry saw
Was the underside of a highway overpass
The last thing he heard
Was the sound of cars and trucks
Driving by

His life
Like so many
Had been filled
With wrong turns
In and out of jail
Occasionally
In and out of a job
And finally
Out of a home

Also
Like so many
He also became a slave
A slave of poverty
A slave of alcohol
And a slave to a system
That would rather punish offenders
Than offer hope or help

At the age of 43
He had lost the vision
In one eye
And part of his foot
To diabetes
And in the eyes of most
The most important thing Terry had lost
Was himself

On one cold night in December
A night where temperatures would only be measured
In the single digits
Terry did something he seldom did
He sought shelter
A warm place to spend the night
But from the homeless shelter he went to
He was turned away
He had failed their alcohol test
For them to care " for him
He had to be both
Clean and sober

Yes
The last thing Terry saw
Was the underside of a highway overpass
And the last thing that he heard
Was the sound of cars and trucks
As they drove by
None of which stopped
And only a few blocks away
From our State Capitol Building
That night
Terry froze
To death

Tonight
I write these words
Through tear filled eyes
And wonder
How many more will have to die like this
Before we finally open our minds
And our hearts
And change

Ed Roberts 11/20/13

(For Terry Myrks)