"I Remain Unseen" as told by a homeless old man.

Beggar by Bjorne Bork
Beggar by Bjorne Bork

In their eyes, I’m simply invisible.

Or worse, purely subhuman, a disgust, a lowlife, a loser.

As they walk on by they whisper their dismay,

I can hear those awful things they say.


I go unseen.


They turn their heads to avoid my gaze.

Don’t they care to see me begging these days?

Flashing glimpses of fear; of what may be.

I was just like any of them once.

Maybe one day they will be just like me.


I’m just an old man now and this is me.

My life can be told over a cup of coffee.

Rumpled, stained overcoat, a dirty white t-shirt cover my swollen belly.

Torn at the seat jeans and a pair of sneakers from the local shelter second hand bin.


I sit in a pile, on the cold grey concrete, while hurried shoppers pass me by.

Some dismiss me with a wave, as if to say good-bye.

I’m a disease in their eyes.

Unacceptable and inexcusable in their perfect worlds.


My hunger hurts so badly, my body needs food.

Spare some change?”

A shake of the head

Dismissed again without a second thought.

Some steal glances as they pass by.

Can’t anybody help out a tired and hungry old man?



But what else would I have to do.

No job, no home, no car, no life. Lost the family in the shuffle.

I beg again as people scamper past me.

Of course, I’m still singing my same old song.

I lower my head,

So my tears can run inconspicuously.

Dozens have passed me,

Yet they direct their attention elsewhere.

Feigning ignorance is easier than facing reality.


The pain of hopelessness beats within my heart.

Begging for change with a smile filled with fake hope.

I wipe the dirty stains of tears from my face.

They veer their heads to shield their eyes.


Can’t they see me begging ?

I’m the plague in their eyes, unwelcome, some may agree.

“I’m hungry.”

“Can’t you spare some change for me?”


I remain unseen.

Simply a statistic; in a population of one.

And just a memory to some.

© 2013 Helen Kramer

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