I Step Away

On the corner of S. Clinton and Iowa Avenue

I see a poor black beggar man,

I step away.


I see pigeons suddenly a flight

Shedding their morning meal in intestinal relief,

I step away.


I see a dozen or more young Muslim girls

Of multi-races in hijabs,

I step away.


On the university lawn that night

I watch two gay lovers affectionately embrace,

I step away.


On an alley outer stairway

I see a skinny teen cooking up his morning dose,

I step away.


Upon returning to my hotel room

I see myself more clearly in the mirror,

I step away.

Handcrafted poetry by John M. Hines, July 2016

I spent a weekend this summer in Iowa City at a University of Iowa Summer Writers Workshop, “Drift and Dream: The Writer as Urban Walker” with Kathleen Rooney.  I spent a lot of time in solo drifting through the city, writing down my reactions as they occurred and polishing some new practices.  This poem was one of the writing assignments we did in class.  Thank you for reading! 🙂



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