Clowns and Vagabonds


By Mark Tulin

I am a pushover.
I let people call themselves my friends.
I give clowns and vagabonds permission
to insult me, stomp on my pride.

I sleep with them.
Feed them meals I can’t afford.
Call them when I’m lonely.
Lend them money I don’t have
and tuck them in at night.

I let them flourish like invasive plants
ravaging my soul, pillaging my goodwill
until eventually,
they take everything I own.

If only I had a backbone.
That elusive thing called courage.
I’d draw the line clear and strong
and change the locks on my heart’s door.

Mark Tulin finds richness in the lives of the neglected and disenfranchised. He has a poetry chapbook called Magical Yogis.

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