The Tourist

A languid man sits upon a bench
in the center of the park
eyes darting among the trees
and statues
gazing upon lovers
embracing on their lunch hour
capturing a brief moment of passion
before returning to their tidy desks
with their colourful pushpins
and post-it notes
reminding them to buy milk
on their way home

children laughing at carousels
and crying at dropped popsicles
the smell of over-boiled hot dogs
swimming in murky water
reused from yesterday
by the vendor with the cloudy eye
much like his hotdog water

ladies with too much rouge
wearing lurid tracksuits
they have never sweat in
Walking impossibly tiny dogs
Parading past men
with fat wallets
and young secretaries
Hoping to fill an open position
in their cookie cutter mansions
Old men arguing with the sun
shining too brightly on their liver spots
Old women cackling like fishwives
over a joke heard in a grocery store
with stained linoleum
and a 25¢ off special on laundry soap

fingers gently stroke the bench
counting the years of lacquer
lashed on its surface
thick and not quite smooth
As if those responsible for its upkeep
thought they could cover years
of weathered abuse
by simply adding another coat
of yellow paint

day submits to the dusk
tired eyed children’s laughter
turns to hungry cries
for the overheated pies
their mothers will fix them for tea
discarded food wrappers mingle in the street
with lipstick stained cigarette butts
enjoying their final repartee
before being swept into the dustman’s pan

glancing at his watch
which tells no time
lingering focus
on the nondescript leather strap
tattered edges
embroidered stitches
slowly making their escape
streetlights flicker on
casting their yellowed smiles
upon the empty sidewalks
and full dustbins

an empty park
time to leave
until tomorrow comes – not soon enough
once again he will visit this spot
to watch - to wish - to try to dream
to one day feel as if he was really there

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