Señor Bag Man




His long shadow has an attitude all its own,

the audacity that comes from knowing the path,

no tale to drag along, no cumbersome baggage,

nothing but the sun on the Bag Man’s back.

Idly mapping his morning destination, as if the day,

After slipping out from beneath a blanket of stars,

had nowhere to go in a hurry.

In search of whatever the Universe sends his way,

prepared for the hunt with an armful of plastic bags,

he pauses momentarily, and poses for the camera,

the cidevant mayor on a red carpet, standing

a world away, across a mote of cobblestones.

Serenely comfortable in his own skin, Maître de

of this exquisite village, steadfast, commanding.

It seems we were destined to end up mirroring

the one thing we have in common; searching for

whatever comes along. That preeminent smile,

that spunky airborne chin, knowing what’s left

on the ground, after I

pass by, is his for the taking.

I bet Bag Man you’d fare well in a throwaway

society, a numero uno rag-and-bone man,

wandering around the moment, listening

to the rhythm of the bandos playing in your mind,

while I, a magpie hording broken dreams,

observe in silence.

He doesn’t know what he’s missed: smog, asthma,

black rain, the exhaust of society eating itself alive.

I bet he doesn’t know or care that the epic battle

between good and evil has been lost

to the squabbling of have and have nots.

Who’s the rabbit? Who’s the hare?

You’ve no need to go there, do you Senor Bag Man?

The sweet smell of fresh air combing your beard,

living in a world where windows and doors

are open portals to whatever the day brings.

The silent observer, roguishly taunting life’s tourist;

and I, the usurper, the cutter ant, seeking

understanding from the rear end of a camera,

while posing just for you.

Where were you when I needed you? When I

slugged along littered streets, aimlessly looking

for something to pick up and hold onto?

Had I known of this cobblestone environment

where saying hello, pausing to be recognized,

is a natural celebration of acceptance,

it would not have taken me so long to learn

that all I have ever really needed

was to share a moment with the Bag Man,

and all that I have ever searched for, consumed

and discarded, was no more than scraps of life

to fill an empty plastic bag.

— john thomas dodds—

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