Ode to the Vegan Homeless Guy Who is Allowed to Hang Out at My Office After 5pm

How marvelous is your muddled mind as you glide past my office door talking gibberish after 5pm when most patients and doctors have gone home.

How wonderful are your words of politics and veganism strung together haphazardly into non-sensical sentences and questions for which you never stick around long enough to hear the answer.

How glorious is your gaze which looks downwards, sideways or beyond mine, never meeting my eyes, or looking quickly away when I attempt to glance in your direction.

The hearty hump upon your back fashioned by food choices that cannot support a steady spine, shines upward hailing the sun.

The mass of matted gray hair and endless beard the color of a speckled sparrow’s egg drift downward towards the earth in praise of gravity.

Your well worn white shirt welcomes its daily wear tucked into jeans that have the hue of air.

There is no one can fill the peaceful space with noise like you, confusing the straggler patients on their way out, wondering if they misheard your fanciful phrases, trying to sort out why you wring those huge and hard working hands and curious about those terrifically thick eye glasses that clearly show a different world than the rest of us see.

I hear you shuffling by as I type out words onto a screen which  may make no more sense to you than you make to me.

Will you write down an insight or two on those scraps of paper I see you collecting from the recycling bin?  Let me listen in on those vociferous voices with whom you converse?  Show me a page of the book of foreign languages from which you read?

Or perhaps I’ll wait my turn for when time make tangles of the brain and conversation slips away like mercury through fingers.  


  1. This is simultaneously brilliant and sly, Mary! Few of your readers will be able to unravel, even with more and more evidence appearing in the mainstream media, that you’re describing a patient with chronic kale overdosing. For me, the telltale clue was the hunch on the fellow’s upper spine, but the haphazard syntax and convoluted sentence structure are also classic manifestations. The terribly thick lenses in the subject’s eyeglasses further conform to the vision loss due to the consumption of more than the recommended daily allowance for kale and similar green-leafed vegetables. Researchers at NIH* have already established levels for kale toxicity, conforming to those promulgated by their counterparts in the European Community. At the moment the bureaucratic process has been streamlined to allow for the issuance of a warning of the especially high dangers posed by kale within the context of a vegan diet.

    A minor quibble: It would have been even better had you included within your ode a simple directive indicating the poor man could easily have alleviated primary, secondary and even tertiary symptoms had he simply gone downstairs and around the corner to the Burger King and ordered a double-whopper with fries. Tests have confirmed that almost all symptoms are absent within minutes, including locutionary incoherence and ideological edema, with the salutary applicationdosage of a single fast-food serving. But your piece is a start and will, no doubt, encourage your readers to review their own diets with skepticism and with a resolution to embrace both fully prepared foods and the menus of commercial enterprises emphasizing speed of product delivery.

    *This work has been funded in full by a joint venture between Dunkin’ Donuts, Krispy Kreme and Tim Horton, the first cross-border collaboration between these much admired industry giants.

    1. Love your response, Peter! You clever one, oh you!

  2. I cannot find the like so will comment. Enjoyed this one immensely. One of those things where one feels sort of like laughing and crying at the same time. Clever.

    1. Thanks so much! So appreciate your kind words! :) - MP