Walking Down Fifth Avenue

Walking down Fifth Avenue I met a man called Death
His face was like any other face, yet he didn’t look so lonely

His brow was like any other brow, his hands were like any others
His nose and ears all looked the same, his hair curled round in back

But his eyes were eyes utterly bereft of sorrow, so sunk in doom were they
He walked right down Fifth Avenue, and none saw Death’s face but me

The kleptocrats were nigh, the homeless bereft in misery did lie
And the shoppers saw not the Devil’s signet duly painted on its brow

I walked right down Fifth Avenue, and saw Death looking straight at me
On the faces of the drug addicted, the illiterate, the deranged

The homeless youth in their innocence disowned
Abandoned to the Devil’s lust did lie

And above all in the apparitions of the affluent – the faceless ones that have no name
It was Death’s reign in paradise as far as the eye could see

Starvation next to Harry Winston, amidst mindless chatter about last night’s game
I walked right down Fifth Avenue, and none saw Death’s face but me

David Penner has taught English and ESL within the City University of New York and at Fordham. His articles on politics and health care have appeared in CounterPunch, Dissident Voice, Dr. Linda and KevinMD; while his poetry has been published with Dissident Voice. Also a photographer, he is the author of three books: Faces of Manhattan Island, Faces of The New Economy, and Manhattan Pairs. He can be reached at: 321davidadam@gmail. Read other articles by David.