The Invisible Man (Homeless)

by Soyini Denise Liburd

A funny thing happened to me on my way through the park,
Just before dark – one summer evening....
The smouldering sunset dripped off the leaves – of trees
The beauty of the green and the bright colours, of scented flowers –
danced off my eyes
That beautiful kingdom, that wondrous world was my park.
Matronly trees with full branches hugged close the spirited sparrows
that clung to their leafy breasts,
Carefree birds chirped happily, singing praises to the trees that took
them in…
All around, the truth displayed, was that nature took care of it’s own.
Each survived for - and because of - the other; so that one was never
left alone.

In the background is God’s splendour – intricately wove…
The fore shows man’s feeble attempt at creation…crude next to HIS own
Cold unfeeling benches of stone,
With their inhabitants removed – except one,
A huddled shadow remains; scorned but with nowhere to run.
A shadow; not quite real, not quite loved, not quite understood…
The stars rise as he falls,
Deeper into the corner of the cold concrete bench.

REAL people pass by and make a wide arc around the Invisible Man – whom
they do not see
Conversation falters, eyes start to glance then remember to ignore the
Invisible Man – whom they should not see
They remember to forget to witness the plight of the Invisible Man –whom
they WOULD not see
An old lady’s hand clamps down on that of a curious child who thinks she
sees a human being somewhere in the shadow on that cold concrete bench.
Withered hands pull and withered feet hurry to perform the ritual of
‘The Wide Arc’;
The child’s laughing eyes tries to entice a smile, from the Invisible
Man who, to her, looks like a human being.
As she grows she will learn; that the shadow on the bench is
nothing…just an Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man – real only to himself – lives quietly to himself.
A quivering sigh cries out for my help,
Though I don’t think he heard it go by.
Clutching his rags around him, he settles in for the night
His tired body no longer wishes to witness the sight
Of REAL folks heading home.
Vaguely, an elusive memory tells a tale of the days when he was REAL…
Vaguely he remembers how life used to feel – when people used to care
that he was there…alive.

My turn has come to perform the ritual of ‘The Wide Arc’
I approach the bench wherein resides the Invisible Man – I haven’t yet
mastered the art, I still think I see a Man – a real one.
My conscience hails to me to help - to share the instincts of the rest
of nature…
A withered resolve drags my young conscience along, determined not to
Unable to satisfy it’s yearning to make his unlife seem easier to bear,

My conscience leaves behind a silent prayer;
That someone will help the Invisible Men out there.

The moment has passed, darkness swallows the Invisible Man
I no longer see what I thought I saw,
All I experience is a curious mixture of relief and shame…
As an afterthought I turn around, walk up to the shadow and toss a coin
His eyes open hold mine and thrusts a message there
I falter backwards from the intensity of emotion that he shares.
His eyes close again, leaving the coin where it lay
As if to say
I don’t need your pity, I want more than your money,
Maybe some RESPECT, perhaps some genuine concern….
For anyday now could be your turn,
To become an Invisible Man.

The Invisible Man (Homeless) by Soyini Denise Liburd

© Copyright 1999. All rights reserved. No portion of this work may be duplicated or copied without the expressed written consent of the author.

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