The Third Sunday in May was a Beautiful Day

I can't sleep because I am cold and hungry.
I have no money for food. I sit and smoke
my last cigarette: my head spins and I cough.
The people going to church look clean and well-dressed.
My pants are torn and dirty. My stomach hurts.

Yesterday I marched in a parade for peace.
A hundred of us walked along empty streets
holding signs and trying to hand out leaflets.
Even the sun stopped shining when we started.
Today there are three-inch headlines about war.

I am nineteen years old. The Army wants me
even though I am hungry and need a shave.
The Army will give me food and let me march.
If I joined the Army I could get new clothes
and wouldn't have to worry about money.

My friends say I worry too much about things.
Last week a man shot himself in this building.
The papers said he worried about money
and war like I do, but he was unstable.
He died Tuesday. His blood is still on the stairs.  

15 May 1959


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