Posted by: Ron DuBour | May 6, 2015

Rag and Bone Man~by Paul F. Lenzi



Rag and Bone Man


he came by every week
pulled his wagon
clattering cobbles that
surfaced my childhood
scavenging discards
consumptive detritus
that durable waste
now of trifling value
yet nonetheless
turned to new purpose
providing subsistence
to those with an ethic
for doing what has to be
done to survive spurning
public relief deep abiding
stern sense of a personal
pride long before warfare
was coined by a value
starved upside down culture
entitlements copious
killing ambition

all of his kids went to
school right beside me
the priests and the nuns
covered all of their costs
from their personal pockets
expressions of manifest
Catholic charity his entire
family was treated by my own
physician whom we paid
three dollars a visit while
they made a barter for
handyman service

his work on the streets
accomplished a meaningful
stream of recycling that
helped juice low reaches of
enterprise fueling a humble
economy unlike the modern
extortions of government
mandates machinery
churning its benefits
only to corporate cronies
who win bids by making
sweet campaign donations

the old days were never
a picnic but I’d take them
back in a flash people led
their own lives and
industrious souls like the
rag and bone man who would
also at rush hour evenings
shine shoes of commuters
could work without license
and punitive fees and absurd
regulation while never not
ever to suffer from shame
poured like poison of
socialist jealousies

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