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"Words' Worth" Poetry Readings

Poets at the Culture, Arts, and Parks Committee of the Seattle City Council.

Hollow Streets by Michael Hood

My kid's name is Milo and he's 10
like me he's a small town boy with a taste for city lowlife.
Weekends when Milo comes to town
we hang the alleys and the derelict streets
windowshopping for lives we'd hate
we're drawn by the sheer lack of sheen
and scuffed desperation
we watch with eyes in the deadlight
as the souls w/no sox
wearin' their homes on their feet
pissin' their pants to stay warm
livin' in the tunnel at the end of the light...
askin' blessings from nothin'
they shuffle though the empties
in wind like broken glass...
This is our Disneyland when Milo comes to town
we're tourists slumming
dazzled by degradation...

It was a winter Sunday gray in the financial district
The dregs of the dregs were there
and women with faces in blood
and men named Lightnin'
and they were and we were
the only animals to be found there in the canyonlands
The cement void left by the bankers and the paper pimps
rolled off Friday afternoon in their top sirloin cars...
And it was dreadful silent
Except for the moans of the wounded
from the Indian camp up on Jackson Street.
hollow streets empty even when full
of these so-called human beings.
      Look, Milo, his eyes are holes like a skull's!
      Cool, says Milo.
At a bustop, clothes dumped on the ground
shaving kit all speckled with toothpaste residue
Milo looks but there's nothing to have here for a boy...
      STOP, I say. This is the end of a life.
No man leaves his shaving gear & his extra pair of pants
on the street if he intends to live.
This is a grave, Milo.
These things are useless to you--
But this is a homelife, scattered and stomped.
These are personal effects, impersonal and ineffective
like a pile of dentures in a holocaust camp
stripped of their gold and rifled by children
This man is dead, Milo.
And seein' his underwear on the street
we're knowin' him better that anyone has in years
And I regret ever meeting him
I'm sorry my son was exposed to his lack
my son was exposed to namelessness
I'm sorry my son was exposed.
I'm sorry my son
for this looted life
like dogs with no names
for effects with no cause
to lives that end where weekends begin...
And I repent what I own!
      And I reject what I see!
And I deny what I know!
I wish we stayed home and watched TV
For now I feel as hollow as any wino or banker
so let's go play some videogames...want to? OK...Milo?

This page was last updated: January 8, 2000
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