Vox Populi

A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature

Billy Clem: Winter

I’m eating at the local Shell,

again, a hot dog, wrinkled

as an old hitchhiker’s thumb,

with a bag of chips and a lottery

ticket I can’t devour but would

if it meant not lunching at a gas station

on another winter’s day bleaching

out the wide sky and preparing

to dump more snow to trudge through.


The guy at the counter, nice

and surely sick of seeing me

every day in the same sweats,

t-shirt, and flip-flops that reveal

toe-nails in dire need of cutting,

so yellow they match the chips,

sighs hello and the high cost of

a diet no one should be allowed.

But, I’m so hungry for this once-a-

day meal, contact, that I don’t care


what I have to pay in dollars,

body-fat, dirty looks or pity,

future EKGs and tread-mill tests

I’ll need to shave half my chest for,

taking too much skin each dry swipe.

I just need to get back to bed,

to unwashed sheets that rival

snow ploughed back to sidewalks

dog-piss yellow and exhaust dirty,

to sheets that know more of shit

than any citywide clean-up scheme.


Copyright 2017 Billy Clem

2 comments on “Billy Clem: Winter

  1. melpacker
    December 21, 2017

    I think I “like” this poem, but not sure why I “like” it or if I even should “like” it. Is this the writer’s life? Or is this how he imagines the life of someone he sees buying a hotdog at the Shell station? Is it meant to make me aware of the lives of others or of his life? Is it meant to make me even more aware of my own privilege? Does it matter what it is or isn’t supposed to make me aware of or if it has nothing to do with making me aware of anything? Damned if I know, but would love to see other comments.


    • Vox Populi
      December 21, 2017

      Thanks, Mel. I think that this is an autobiographical poem about a guy who is chronically ill and this is the only human contact he gets everyday.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on December 21, 2017 by in Health and Nutrition, Opinion Leaders, Poetry, Social Justice and tagged , .

Enter your email address to follow Vox Populi and receive new posts by email.

Join 10,429 other followers

Blog Stats

  • 3,500,025 hits


%d bloggers like this: