Bits and Pieces

11 Aug


An old man, you could tell by his long thinning hair below his hat,

pulling and floating behind him, in shaking hands,

all of his life’s successes and failures. In readable bold print.

tightly holding the strings, he tugged all different sizes

of brightly colored balloons.

Strolling along streets, between alley ways every mid-day,

with a strong but timid pitch, would speak to himself.

Looking up at his balloons, “Free! Life’s balloons!

Pick a color! Go ahead, pick a size, and take one string,

anyone you please.” No one ever did.

Bits and pieces in the way he moved.

Slowly, with purpose, in a constant pursuit; holding his balloons.


Carrying a large black plastic handbag strapped between sagging breasts and wings,

an old Angel, dull Halo above short-cropped bluing grey hair,

walked briskly on the same street. Bulging almost begrudgingly, 

with contents peeking in-between swinging striding elbows,

were things seldom humanly seen or recognized.

Frequently looking up the street with a jerk of her head

like a bird of prey, a determined hunter.

Shaking her head with disappointment, her eyes would fall with innocence at her feet.

She walks just after the sun comes up; her search begins after the dampness of dawn.

Looking for the old man. Always walking on the opposite side of the street

ready to cross if need be. Never stops looking. Never stops shaking her head.

Bits and pieces glittering on the needle she carries,

gripped with white knuckles in her stride.


Day of enlightenment almost caught up with the old man.

But, did not.

He was ambushed yesterday, with every balloon popped;

yet continues to walk in crushed cap, carrying one string over his shoulder

begging  “Free sturdy string. Free well tugged twine.

Have this one, please take this one, I have had it for some time.”


Looking at bits and pieces, starfish,

Crabs and broken shells in a shallow

tide pool.


Posted by on August 11, 2013 in Poetry


10 responses to “Bits and Pieces

  1. brian miller

    August 13, 2013 at 11:45 pm

    you def brought out the characters in this…really like the short poem in the end…and that even after the ambush the man did not give up on giving away what he had even if it was just a piece of string….


  2. dsnake1

    August 13, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    why do you have to make me work the grey cells? 😀

    i think the old man represents the things from the Past we hold on to, our baggage, unwilling to let go, yet he’s crying out for help. the angel is, like you said, Truth, and only truth can liberate him. will the twain ever meet? looks like there’s a problem. 🙂

    btw the image created by the last 3 lines is lovely.


  3. ZQ

    August 12, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    Thank You Mary, I always have the tea on for your visits. 🙂


  4. ZQ

    August 12, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Thanks. Yup! Nuthin’ seems to be what they r 🙂 never mind what there “is” 🙂 🙂


  5. ZQ

    August 12, 2013 at 12:03 am

    Thanks Sherry Marr.


  6. ZQ

    August 12, 2013 at 12:02 am

    Yes, and Despair. I tried to create that illusion (theme) with my two “grotesque” characters, but they are really nice people content on being grounded. Balloons of his past illusions trying to, but not able to, give them away. …My not so “attractive” heroin, Truth, will seek him out. They both almost win, but the stubborn bugger has to hang on to one more thing. Sorta when I get enlightened and miss the stinkin’ boat when I find myself really not letting go of certain “beliefs” …that’s sad. So like the old man I’ll stay on the path. Since “Truth” has nothing left to pop. It will be up to me to find (create) enlightenment. …that’s despair 🙂
    What do you think?


  7. Ruth

    August 11, 2013 at 8:47 pm

    But there is hope in that he rises out of what could be seen as the ashes of his destruction – there is life in him yet, and I think, enlightenment is not necessarily what we think it to be…

    An intriguing, coherent write, thought-provoking.


  8. Sherry Marr

    August 11, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    For a moment, I was hoping they would meet and he would give her a balloon. Happy ending. Your story is more realistic. You made me see them both, with great empathy. Poignant, the man calling about the string. All his balloons busted. Sigh. Such is life. You told this so well.


  9. Sumana Roy

    August 11, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    lines created sadness…..


  10. Mary

    August 11, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Whew, that is indeed quite a tale!



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