From a squalid open doorway down on Duke
bare shoulders paisleyed
with curls of coarse black hair
stands sideways to the roadway
dealing out rebukes.
Leaning like a weak-stemmed peony
toward the light
of late July
his beard is grizzled, spiking outward from his chin
his throat is dry
his belt cinched well past
the last punch leather will allow.
In a voice to drown the voices
he insults the empty air
shivers with a rich-hued vision of his doom
and takes a bow.