On the edge of Del Monte Beach,
just beyond crowded yacht harbor,
an elderly woman, homeless,
crawls from a pup tent.
She wears ragged red leggings,
dirty sweatshirt, lumpy adult diaper,
looks hopefully at passing walkers.
Perhaps some kind Samaritan
will take pity, improve her day
with a greeting, hot coffee,
a generous cash handout.
Most pass with averted eyes,
pretend she is an invisible monster.
On their fancy schooners and sailboats,
the affluent rise and shine,
toast bracing morning air
with eggs benedict served on deck,
crystal goblets filled with mimosas.
He spends cold nights
crumpled against damp sand,
pillows his head
upon rotting driftwood.
When his demons command,
he shuffles inland to Custom House Plaza.
Curses invisible, buzzing tormentors.
With outstretched arms, yells obscenities,
Eventually, a cop will come,
warn him to quiet down
unless he wants another
seventy-two-hour involuntary hold
in the psych ward.
Sitting on a public bench,
he nurses grievances,
rests between outbursts,
unable to escape accusing voices
inside his own head.
Fundraisers miss the irony
of a Jimi Hendrix tribute concert
organized to solicit donations
for the local recovery center.
Addicts, alcoholics, aging hippies
reminisce about Winterland, The Fillmore,
purchase tickets to witness
a Canadian guitarist
channeling the iconic rock star,
dead of a heroin overdose at 27.
Tattooed, stoned and sober fans,
shout out favorite album cuts,
re-experience the Monterey Pop Festival,
mesmerizing Stratocaster ignition,
that legendary scorched spot
on immortal stage.
The flea market tienda entices consumers.
Flimsy shelves display eclectic bling:
plastic Sparkle Plenty unicorns,
Virgin of Guadalupe,
crucified Jesus on a cross
in varied dimensions.
Smurfs and Barbie cohabitate
with Little Red Riding Hood,
green army men,
all twelve apostles.
Young and old
comb through merchandise.
Discounted relics beg to be purchased,
taken home to be adorn one’s personal altar.
Sacred icons --fifty per cent off.
Saintly figurines promise spiritual succor.
Golden Gate Windmill
Silhouetted against curdled sky,
battered rotor arms frozen,
the windmill has been transplanted
to San Francisco from Holland.
It attracts Golden Gate homeless,
our society’s Frankenstein’s monster.
A diaspora of unwanted humans
terrify and haunt us.
The townspeople are subtle –
no pitchforks or torches,
only demands that the destitute
be removed from streets, beaches, sidewalks.
Unmedicated messiahs rave
to crows and passing joggers,
seek refuge with dispossessed creatures
among dunes, under bushes.
Bio: Jennifer Lagier has published eleven books and in literary magazines, taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Newest chapbook: Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press). Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: : : Poetry by Jennifer Lagier : :
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