To A Panhandler Who, For A Quarter, Said "God Bless You"
You held out your hand, expecting (on the average)
But when I crossed your palm with copper in an alloy
Newly minted by God's Country, you laid a misfortune
On me not even a prime-time gypsy would have
God bless me? Me be one for the cloud-capped, holy-
For-showbiz, smug, sharkskinny, hog-certain, flowery
I couldn't stagger, let alone clodhop, to such music.
You could have said, Heaven tempers the wind to the
Or Heaven will protect the working girl or Heaven
Lies about us in our infancy. I half-swallowed those saws
Once. Their teeth stuck in my craw. Now I take wisdom
Shorn lambs and working girls and infants over the years
Have taught me something else about Heaven: it exists
Maybe when the Corner-cutting Fleecer, the Punch
With the Time-clock, and the Unmilkable Mother aren't
If God knows what's good for Him, He won't listen to you
About my anointment. He'll oil some squeakier sinner
And pour me an ordinary straight-up natural disaster.
Here's two-bits more, palmer, to help I'll be worth a damn.