Theo is with us no more
And I fear I might be to blame.
I meant him no harm.
I mused his mortality on Saturday
And he deceased pre-dawn on Monday.
His manner of passing
A show of irony
A street performance
Under the aegis of the Absurdist Supreme
Who hearing silent thoughts
Often likes to act them out
Just for the craic.
Theo was a broken thorn in society’s side
A busted flush, best avoided.
Sour sweat oozed from every pore
As with stale breath
He wheedled small change or more
To bet on greyhounds that ‘could not lose’
“I’ll see you right when the six dog wins.”
His choice would be headed on the line
And Theo would drag deep on a chain lit cig
And squint around for another mug to promise
He’d “see right when the coffin box dog wins”.
And if it won, Theo was fast away
Hotfooting pronto for a pack of fags.
“The dogs” were Theo’s forte
He studied form, made shrewd selections
A beggar in rags.
Few dogs ran to script.
Fast starters missed the break.
Wide dogs railed.
Crowded at the third or pulled up lame.
He stood at the winnings counter.
Rheumy eyes glinting with victory.
Getting paid out on a twenty pence Yankee
Forty pounds odd – call it fifty.
I did not ask Theo to ‘see me right’ at last
Instead I stared into the frosted glass windows of his soul
And thought, “What are you living for?
What keeps you here…and why?
There’s nothing left for you, but to die.”
Theo was drifting
without a rudder
in a squalid urban sea
And it came as a shock
it was just the same for me.
I saw Theo walking
Monday morning early.
I was buying bread for toast
and milk for tea.
Theo was eyes down
sniffing out dog ends
Neither seeing me
nor the dust cart
that brushed him aside
Bread for toast,
milk for tea,
and a bunch of fuchsias
to tie to a tree.