Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hugo Alfredo Tale-Yax is Dead

In the rag-covered body on the ground
A man died here, just incidentally
This is not his home
This street, this pavement in Queens
Perhaps his home is in some corner of the park
Or that shelter over on 64th
Or maybe the cardboard tent under the bridge

But not this condo complex
Where nobody stopped to ask
Nobody dared
Or cared
Or had the brass
Even when lifting him up to see the blood

As he lay face down on the pavement
The gray cement cooling his face
On the early morning of his death
After his heroic struggle
In defense of a woman
The frail ideal of helplessness

The woman who ran away to who knows where
While the hero stayed behind to fight for her
Was stabbed for her
And bled for her and for many who did not call 911
Who did not stay and speak kind words to him
While his life blood ebbed away

Though he died without a friend,
Perhaps he found some glory,
Perhaps he was feasted by the angels
And comforted by the djinns or bodhisattvas
I like to think he would never again
Be called homeless.

Dedicated to Hugo Alfred Tale-Yax, a homeless man who fought a robber for a woman who fled, and who died April 24, 2010 while people passed by without stopping to help.


A Word Witch said...

Stirling, this moved me to tears. It deserves a wide, wide audience. Have you thought about submitting it to--someplace? The NY Times maybe? Or a good poetry magazine?

Stirling Davenport said...

Thanks, Lu. I noticed after writing this there was a very good article in NYT about it. In fact, it appears lots of people are now going to his funeral in Queens - and there's even a movement to get a street named after him. I'm glad.