When women stringed in heavy pearls
And priceless furs to which the dead smell
Of flayed animal heat still clings,
Slide out of hotels huge and foreign spiced
With glittering floors and cucumbers sliced
In odd shapes, labor of sweat and blood,
To sell through hot, steaming kitchens and lure
Exquisite taste buds nurtured by leafing
Through the right magazines, cameras flashing
To capture a beautiful morsel entering
A costly mouth, red-lipped in layers hiding
Tiny winter cracks and expelling
Fumes from breath freshener bottles displaying
The heraldic arms of a corporation labeled
In loud golden letters.
Don't tell me it's not a crazy world
When across the street from one such hotel,
A wrinkled man lies by the side of the road
Missing a leg in a land mine carrying a load
Of cooking oil and flour for the family's bread.
His clothes are filthy with the peculiar smell
Of need and endlessly streaming sweat
With boots rugged and barely hanging together
And hammered in places with rusty nails.
By the road he lies come heaven or hail,
Begging for food his body daily craves
While frenzied lice crawling through his matted hair,
Enact a circus to keep the people away,
Who recoil on instinct as they pass him by,
Wishing that the council would have him displaced-
He is spoiling their perfect landscape.