An old man leaned against a brick wall,
Feeling sad about life, old jobs, and past loves.
He was feeling regret for unfulfilled dreams.
It was hard for him to pinpoint,
When it all started going down hill.
His mother had died when he was five.
He lost his best friend to diphtheria,
When he was a boy of ten.
He spent most of his time, as a young man,
Running errands for other people.
He became fast on his feet,
And he knew enough to get by.
When he was twenty-one, he lost
The love of his life to his best friend.
He started drinking to ease the pain.
World War II started, and
He decided to join the army.
He was sent overseas to fight
People he didn’t know, in a country
He had never heard of before.
He learned the meaning of hell,
Made friends who became like brothers,
And watched them die on the beaches
He became gaunt of face and he grew
From a scared Kentucky boy into a man.
He was discharged from the army,
Because he was unable to sleep, and
He had flashbacks of things
No sane man would talk
He went back to college and flunked out,
Because the nightmares were too severe.
He bounced from one job to another,
Barely making enough money to eat.
His heart felt broken, his mind gone
Because of the horrors of war.
He tried to drink himself into oblivion.
He wanted to drown out the screams
Of his friends in battle.
People he once knew, distanced from him.
They laughed at his drunken bouts,
Called him names when he fell.
They did not understand tears were locked
Inside his shattered heart,
Because of loses never resolved.
It is sad that no one took the time,
To ask him his name or why a man
Would live the way he did.
No one offered him a hand, or said,
“Thank you for your service in the army.”
Instead, assumptions were made
About a man they barely knew.
This man once had a life,
And parents who loved him.
Yet people only tend to see
His dirty tattered clothes,
His missing front teeth,
And the fact he was sitting
By the street.