Daniel B. Silver



The overhead lights of a passing patrol car
They flicker past quickly, in the corner of my eye
Tonight I’m out in the city and my boots pound the pavement
Ahead, steam from subway vents wafts to the sky

Out on Market Street’s sidewalk, the dealers are peddling
Hitting me up to drop down a dime
I tread past them briskly and shoot them a sneer
Praying their comeuppance will fall down in time

The blare of the air-horn from a well-worn fire engine
Wails past me and roars, as it shakes up the night
I step over a homeless guy, and dodge a drunken street fight
A junkie shoots up, in and alcove to my right

Three dark faces clad in malice and black hooded sweatshirts
They eye me intently as I pass them right by
The trio looks me up and down, and I find the knife in my pocket
Three thugs ignore me, figuring I’m not tonight’s prize

There’s an overhead streetlight, and it makes the fog glow
Directly ahead of me, lighting my way
I march steadily towards it, counting the sidewalk tiles
Ignoring the rabble; they’ll do what they may

One could argue that tonight I’m a man with a plan
Step, stepping my way to a predetermined destination
A little grit in my soles makes them no worse for the wear
And Skid Row provides, if nothing else, a bit of sensation

There’s a dimly-lit barroom a few blocks further down
Where I will seek my refuge from this city’s ongoing crime
But I’ll only be able to hide for so long tonight, till two
And then it’s just my boots, the pavement and a gauntlet of grime