JAZZ AND THE HOBO | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Poem - Life Bookmark and Share


It was a Saturday morning
And you were 19

and you were racing along
Victoria Street having just left

Victoria Railway Station
on your way to Dobell’s

Jazz Record Shop
moving quickly

through the sea
of humanity

thinking of jazz
and what record

you were going to buy
at the shop that day

imaging yourself
fingering through LP sleeves

taking a mental note
of which one

you might buy
a John Coltrane or Miles Davis

an Art Blakey or maybe
a Dizzy Gillespie

a jazz record being played
over the loudspeakers

in the shop
you mingling with others

in the crowded place
when this hobo stopped you

taking hold of your jacket gently
and said

have you got some small change
for a sandwich?

you replied

I haven’t
and rushed on

through the crowd
fingering in your pocket

loose change
silvery coins

and his voice
in your head 

as you raced along
and your conscience

nagging you
maybe the voice

of the believed in Christ
so you stopped

and turned around
and made your journey back

through the people
passing by

your fingers taking hold
of the coins

the silvery loose change
and there he was

the hobo asking others
the same question

and they too went by
shaking their heads

or saying
no sorry no change

and you took his hand
and put in the loose silver

into his open palm
and said

here go buy yourself
a sandwich or whatever

and you turned
and left looking over

your shoulder
and he stood there

staring at his palm
and the coins shining

in the morning sun
and then you looked ahead

thinking of the record shop
and the LPs and the jazz music

being played
but deep down

in some other part of you
you knew you’d given

to one who maybe
was hungry

and had unconsciously

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