Another rewrite.




Theo is with us no more

And I fear I might be to blame.

Only tangentially

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

turned septic.


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

An expert

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.


Saturday morning.


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

To realise

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

to eternity.


Bread for toast,

milk for tea,

and a bunch of fuchsias

to tie to a tree.


© coolhermit 2023
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Another of your captivating tales, you had me ‘chain smoking’ every line, could not put them down untill the very last puff! The second to last verse actually gave me a jolt as I hadn’t seen it coming either, the ‘brushed aside to eternity’ was top class. Super stuff :-)) Sue.


A very fine poem, truly captured my attention line by line…Leila


A moving observational epitaph to a local and obviously colourful character. “Theo was eyes down sniffing out dog ends assiduously: Neither seeing me nor the dust cart that brushed him aside to eternity” – captured the trgedy perfectly.Mitch

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