Moses harangues the masses

Big black Moses
works at the foot of Ossington
folks more colourful there than in Little Portugal;
women and men in transit, don’t know what to make of it
where the Queen car stops in fits, east to west
Parkdale to Bellwoods, "this is nutbar territory" you overhear
but October’s meaner than summer now,
not much love for 'nutters' even here

Moses wades into roadway, parts the traffic
rubdown rag in hands, attacking windshields at the lights
drivers protest, wave away, sometimes they honk
he frightens two skittish teenage girls
chases pretty Asian women along the walk
(what are we supposed to do?)
I’m fixated by the spectacle
enthralled by his honest nerve, such
earnest close-talking discomfort

Moses has no place to live, except with himself
and it can’t be easy, that crowd
—and we’re a tough tough Monday afternoon crowd—
when no one sees what he sees, Lord knows what
his coping mechanisms are: bushy white beard, felt bowler, brass crucifix
and a scorching case of schizophrenia
—but Moses works his corner like a bloodhound
he networks like an MBA.

So, if you want out of the ordinary, head to
Ossington and Queen in the afternoon and look for
Moses and his pals:
they may entertain you for a token or loonie;
most people say “sorry” and look away,
and it’s tough holding that loonie after 15 minutes' wait
but I too say “sorry” and look away,
how else can I make it on the 501 in one piece?
you see Moses really asks too much—and my conscience needs some sleep.

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