Poetry: The Way It Is by Jack Hirschman


J.W. told me tonight
that Mitch the Chipewa
died two nights ago.

“Over-exposure and drink.
39 years old.” “And he had
a bad ticker,” said Gyzmo’s

friend, coming into the Bar
mainly to whisper some stash
of a deal into J.W.’s ear.

The Tenderloin Times says
108 or 109 died homeless
this year, but we know many

more simply could no longer
bear the excellent San Francisco
food fare. They preferred

choice cuts of wrist or night
dives where you’d never hear
the bodies hit the water, or just

wasting away till they were
nothing but filthy cardboard
itself that the garbage men

slap together and fling into
they ass of their truck, never
knowing they’ve just liberated

even the dead from an American
concentration camp, all things
being equal in human beings now.

—Jack Hirschman