Number Three On The Block
Remember the old men on the corner? How they'd chide us
back then, silly walk this, sloppy clothes that. Pick up
your feet when you walk, boy. Gimme a quarter, I
give you some wisdom. Those were our days, brother.
When the children could play free and the old men
were respected. Homelessness wasn't much more
than a concept, then. The neighborhood took care of
its own. We were strong and we took it for granted.
Because that's what strength is - being in control and
not realizing the boundaries of that control. We flexed
muscle every time we posted bail, paid an aunt's bill or
dropped coins in a can. We did it without thinking about it.
But these new dogs, man. All they do is bite. Where'd
these monsters come from? You remember scrambling
back then, hitting spots, getting lit, and jumping afresh
on a brand new morning? Rolling with the tide? It
didn't matter which holiday it was or who was back in
town; bones got thrown, beers got popped, tunes got
spun. Living was for the survivors, son. And we all thrived.
Now the kids get chomped and the old men get
pinched. Three players got folded last week, smoked
like it was nothing. Yeah, I hear some folks say they
had it coming, but damn. What happened to the
conversation? What happened to communication?
Some say this, but others say that. Remember when
we all knew exactly what the game was? Now there's
confusion. When they took this boy - and I say boy
because he was never a man, never had the chance -
folks got ill and took to the streets. Which is alright, I
guess. But the response feels foul to me. Because
these dogs been setting up shop for years. It's odd,
for sure, because I remember the days before them,
when the landscape was popping with people and
colors and the skyline was wide with sunlight and
movement. But I can't recall the feeling of comfort.
I'm displaced from that ease, man. I know we jumped
from spot to spot, hopped from joint to joint without
strain or stress, but I forget what that confidence of
freedom felt like. It's an old man's failure of memory,
huh? But I ain't that old.
These dogs, though. You seen the new ones?
Strapped with padded armor and faceless masks. One
day, they were few. Awkward, sure. Full of spastic
indecision. But recognizable as men. Then, sometime
in the night while we slept, dropped in the new
visitors. These monsters are from another planet,
right? I imagine that the atmosphere on their world is
harsh, like, more methane than oxygen. The gravity's
probably heavier, too. There's got to be something
going on with their food, as it seems to me that they're
all carnivores, man. Meat-eating maneaters born, like
tribal cannibals who got dropped here on our world
because back home they were forced to eat one
another. Yeah. That's the the only thing that makes
sense to me. These dogs are displaced cannibal men
from another world, out of time.