Terrycloth Subway Harp
By Thomas Herr, June 1999.
Sad Soul Bag Man rides the D.C. Metro Subway
Standing in the stairwell of the subway car door;
In everyone’s way as the dirty tunnel lights speed by.
Sad Soul Bag Man dressed in white
Dishwashers’ whites and terrycloth hotel towel
Draped over his huge head like a widows shawl.
We turn our heads to ignore him, hoping our minds will wander
A two-dollar Chinese harmonica with far too many holes to be diatonic
Is pulled out of his bag and quickly to his mouth,
Blowing in blowing out on this harp with gusto.
Pity this fool as he wags his head loudly back and forth
Like Stevie Wonder into my silence
Like Little Stevie Wonder he rocks.
Sad Soul Black Man Bag Man Bad Man he cons us all
With his atonal nonsensical non-musical act
Talking like an artist at large.
He just hopes to make some spare change for coffee