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June 24, 2013

By Sean Michael, May 2012

In the dust, thin shards of glass are scattered:
What used to be a meth pipe.
A syringe is partially buried, protruding from the earth in its virulence.
I discard the device into a bag of thrash not knowing if it will end up back in the dirt.

Bodies lay bundled in blankets a few feet away.
Beneath a makeshift tent trying to evade the rain.
There’s a freeway running along side the camp;
Cars go gliding past.
I watch a solitary figure walk quickly across the bridge above–
On her way home or some other place to escape the downpour, I surmise–
The canyon’s slopes are beginning to muddy as the firmament cries.

No fiefdom of King Arthur’s court, this valley called Camelot,
But a domicile of scarred souls and wounded hearts.
Many faces I’ve seen in this canyon where homeless reside;
The sadness unmasked,
A loss of home revealed in their eyes.

Dresden Files book cover

Dresden Files book cover

I’ve found well-meaning souls in Camelot, and those only out  for themselves:
Many will share with you their bread,
While there are some who will filch your only bite.

What brought you to this plight?
Was it war, drugs, money or family problems?
So many trek through Camelot each passing year;
Their tracks left in the earth, then covered again as new feet shuffle the dirt.

The rain is still falling as I rise to leave.
I hear a voice, beneath the makeshift tent, mumble between
consciousness and sleep.
Fleetingly, I wonder what it is they dream:
Of a better place — somewhere or someone they used to know?

I meander down the canyon’s muddy slope, being soaked in a cascade of rain.
Once in the valley, I lift my head up to the sky,
There is no blue, only thick sheets of grey.

Is there no exodus from this abyss, O’Camelot, great captor of souls?
Will the drugs continue to reign?
Will the lost be found or forgotten?

With a roar of thunder, the empyrean seems to riposte.
I look around me as the sullen rain drives furious:
On the freeway, the auto’s passing swish,
The bridge now free of pedestrians,
And through the foliage, I glimpse the blue tarpaulin shelter…

I’ve seen innocence and innocence lost in the beggary of Camelot.
For some it’s a fate they’ve accepted, living on the streets.
Still, for others it is hell.
As I stand in the downpour pondering life, my feet grow
restless and my mind begs for ease,
So with one last glance up the muddy slope, I turn to leave.
Reaching into my pocket I find my pen and paper there,
The blank page beckoning with an offer of reprieve;
I need to gather my thoughts….

Where I go, I shan’t know until arrival —
Emerging from the tenebrous Camelot.

[Note: This Camelot is in San Diego, CA.]

Posted for  dVerse Poets, Poetics, December 9, 2014


From → BLOG, Poetry

  1. Wow, that was so real! The setting, the sounds, everything was right in front of my mind’s eye. I believe that we all have our own personal ‘Camelot’, but you have actually taken the reader on this journey. Well done – keep writing!


  2. wow dude, gritty and in your face…. I’ve seen innocence and innocence lost in the beggary of Camelot. strong… and like how you questioned so much.
    I’ve watched plenty of documentaries on the heavy reign of drugs, so this speaks volumes to me
    and the imagery was no less than vivid


    • Did you ever see the National Geographic documentary about meth? In Oregon, 85% of the crime rate is attributed to meth…


  3. def innocence lose….and i like your use of camelot in this…
    a city of lost souls, indeed….


    • The tent camping area of the homeless is called Camelot by the homeless themselves. It took me a couple of years before I was actually able to write about though.


  4. A dark, but yet illuminating piece. You’re words took me with you to this home of the homeless


  5. The backside the darkness and such being there with beggars and the tents.. Fantastic write.


    • Thank you Bjorn! Grandma hasn’t sent me any of your stuff lately. So, Grandma, send me some of Bjorn poetry…


  6. A brilliant and deep writing. The shadows of the lost souls cast a dark light.


  7. very intense makes one think about different aspects of city life


  8. Well, who’d have thought that dark, rainy, dystopian landscape would be in San Diego, often cited as one of the most pleasant US cities to live in? There’s something of the Satanic Mills in this poem – but with drugs and tarpaulin instead of belching factory chimneys.


  9. compared to everyone else, this is soooo heavy and serious. wow. after readying everyone elses’ i totally did not expect something so deep and dark.

    popsicle on a stick


    • Hope it didn’t bring you down too much — just another side of this life. Thanks for reading and commenting. This poem meant a lot to me as I wrote it, and I’m glad it touched you in a special way.


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