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.