Homeless in Philadelphia


Sitting here

in this morning’s niche

I haven’t noticed

anybody noticing


except that secret-agent

sparrow on the sidewalk

spying again





(Text Copyright Clyde Collins 2016)


The Homeless Ghost



GUN 2013

Chapter 14


So I keep on strolling up the alley ~ stroll by the backside patio of the famous Palace restaurant with a severe parking structure to the other side of the alley ~ stroll by the back of this bar & that store & more trash bins.  In the shade beside one bin I discern movement.  Oh oh, am I a goner?  Why must I be one of the White House’s favorite secret agents?  Who volunteered me for this job?  Maybe right now is a good time to suddenly start looking for something that pays ~ like flipping burgers.

My eyes blur.  The shade is deep.  The shade is ~ mystical?  The shade next to the trash bin is hiding a tramp ~ and not hiding him very well.  He’s sitting on the pavement, his back against the smelly bin.  He has found a cool place to rest his bones ~ but this cool place is shrinking due to the sun moving across the sky.  Pretty soon he is going to have to move.  He raises his arm.  He points.  “The fucking clown went in there,” he growls.

I turn & look at a not-too-fancy wooden door on which is elaborately printed, “Bird Cage Saloon.”  This narrow door is at the back of another plain windowless crumbling-brick building.

I spit out, “Thank you, brother.”  I turn & head for the door.

As I reach for the door handle the tramp behind me says, “I wouldn’t go in there if I was you.”

I turn around.  This feller is standing up now.  Half of him is in the sunlight.  He’s long & lanky, stubble all over a haggard face.  He’s wearing a black duster coat with long tails, a little western tie at his throat, a shirt that was once white, a wide brim smacked down on his skull.  He looks like a very soiled version of Wyatt Earp ~ without gun or badge & in the market for a grave.

“Go around thru the front,” he advises.

“Sounds like a good idea,” I acknowledge.  The clown I’d been following could be hiding somewhere behind the backdoor ready to knock me off.  He most likely wouldn’t be expecting me thru the front door.  This, this, this ghost might have just saved me much harm.  “Thanks,” I say.

He glares at me with nothing more to add.

I step further up the back-alley of Whiskey Row.  I’m no longer limping.  But my back is kinda stiff and my muscles are kind of ~

Plucked like guitar strings…

~ by Rawclyde!


Photo:  Wyatt Earp

Master of the world…

Jules Verne illustration


You just can’t fight civilization, it’s all over the planet now

so I best take a bath or I’ll get no smile with my chow

damn it, it’s a hell of a situation to be in, I swear

taking a bath in a cereal bowl, gotta grin n’ not despair


Little monkey up the park tree offer his shaky hand

to ‘de big dog barking below so fierce & grand

peacock with feathers spread out like a masterpiece fan

strut around like he most colorful puke in theese land


You just can’t fight civilization, it’s too damn big a beast

so I pour water into the bowl halfway to ‘de brim at least

soap up, rinse, pour dirty water into shit bucket behind ‘de door

repeat this action a few mo’ times without spilling water on ‘de floor


Once two curious crows with hello squawks fly over my head

cactus wren jump outta hole up in cactus onto branch wish I was dead

lets me know too, balls me out and angrily flies around

I just stand there with a mug of whiskey & coke & don’t make a sound


Here in the city with rubbing alcohol I cut the soap grease

give me-self one more rub-down, put on clean clothes that got a crease

lock up the truck, go eat, waitress is friendly as can be

I’m just an old rubber tramp but she treats me quite royally


No, you can’t fight civilization, who wants to anyway?

Just roll with the punch & go eat lunch, that’s what I say

birds, rocks, trees, individuals everywhere have a role to play

The Spirit That Moves In All Things made it that o’ way…


from an out-of-print book

A Love Song To The American Lizard

by Rawclyde!

(Copyright Clyde Collins 1999)



an old Jules Verne concoction


Secret Agent Man


Deadwood Dick


GUN 2013

Chapter 1


I am strictly federal ~ having tramped around some states ~ and landed a little social-security income at 62 unto death.

I was pretty rebellious come the end of the Vietnam War which I dodged ~ and pretty shiftless ~ had two nervous breakdowns by this time and carried on in an abstract half-insane manner.  Then I enlisted via lies the recruiter sign-language-ed me to tell and after some medals and an honorable, took some more university ~ 6 years full-time all together without a degree ~ having been raised in a house opportunely 2 blocks away.

The only entity that ever payed me for my writing ~ other than some books I wrote & printed myself & sold to individuals here & there ~ was the U.S. Army ~ which made me a budding journalist for 4 years.  So I am pretty strictly federal.

The social security I’ve begun enjoying recently comes from FDR’s New Deal & some work on my part ~ here we go now, baby, now ~ busing tables, busing kids, pulling shipyard electrical cables, twirling airport tugs, loading bags, unloading boxcars, endless hours of warehouse boredom, tooling around & around in delivery trucks, of course digging ditches especially after transformationing blank pages for Uncle Sam, mowing lawns and trimming bushes from the bay to the borderlands, grouting and cutting tile, yes I was a laborer for a while, while I wrote them silly books.  Of course some fools think I’m lazy when in fact I’m just not that materialistic.

I’d like to add that for about 15 hours a day for about 15 days I worked on a merry-go-round somewhat gently tossing babies like sacks of potatoes onto bouncing plastic horses for the most beautiful young mommas I’ve ever been around whom I shall label Albuquerque Hispanic.  Whatever else I did for wages always legit & almost always low ~ who cares?  And now at 62 I’m strictly federal.

So if Ted Nugent & Wayne La Pierre want our nation bristling with AK40s & 30-round bannana clips because they’re paranoid of a professor of the Constitution in the White House who is 30 times smarter than them ~ and if jack-ass Teddy and whinny Wayne aren’t properly impressed with 20 first-graders getting mowed down by one of these weapons ~ so if thusly bombs were to drop on the houses of Nugent and La Pee-in-the-air, you would be able to watch me cry crocodile tears with my out-of-tune violin.

I’m not really a secret-agent man.  I only pretend.  But I’m not pretending about being strictly federal.  I don’t care for California’s police-state manners, Arizona’s low wages, or greasies beating up gringos in New Mexico.  It’s in these places I’ve come to hang out.  And I’m looking forward to the federal government one of these days yielding to these state’s current legalizations of marijuana so that I can remain ~

Strictly federal.

~ Rawclyde!


Gun 2013






Tramp on trail ~ all is I ~ awandering into a canyon & bouncing into the stars.  My mind is fading.  My heart growing weak.  Various lines are thrown ~ dangling lures sparkle & beckon ~ tapping ‘gainst the brim of my hat & occasionally I snap.  More or less, that’s what you are dealing with here.

Thanks for letting me into your sweet abode.  Please, may I stay a moment.  Thank you, it’s been a week now, a month, a year, two years ~ gotta go, gotta go.

But before I leave this cozy confessional, I’d like to weave another endless tale & not leave at all, ye poor host of whom I take such advantage.  Do my thoughts seem scattered?  They are.  You give.  I receive.  Then one day this son-of-a-bitch is gone.  Walking along, I step up into a ride, a stranger’s privately owned vehicle, or a trolley, a bus, a train or a plane ~ zoom like a comet out of your life and away.  A span of time ferments the tale & what?  Yours truly is dropping by again.  Oh well.

Let me please nail down a thought here ~ it seems to be taking another moment.  We gotta discuss some stuff.  Yes, the planet is turning, fuel is burning, and if we’re not careful, bold & brave & willing to securely tie our boots & nudge a goon, they are going to be all over  the place brandishing guns.

There are various ways of approaching this mess, this creation, evolution, revolution, oh it is a ball ~ let’s waltz!  Okay.  You got the duly elected president and you got the NRA.  The National Rifle Association.  Many belong, ammo rattling, magazines clicking, bang ~ and bullets singing, which can obviously be deadly.  Nobody wants to get in the way of true justice ~ or maybe not so true justice.

What makes the NRA so sad is its leaders, the way they promote a culture to, quite frankly, sell guns.  I’ll get to the point.  The bad thing, the unacceptable thing about the NRA is how their leadership has been talking about the president.  Consequently these guys have become slanderous, fraudulent, unacceptable.  They’re gonna have to be muzzled, incarcerated, starved & subjugated.  In other words, the members of the NRA need to find themselves a new kind of leader ~ or their association is going to shrink & disappear in a sickening puff of smoke.  If what their leaders  have been saying was true, it might be okay.  But too much of what they’ve been saying is not.

For a number of years they’ve been spreading lies about U.S. President Barack Obama that are not very nice, bright, right or wise.  Unfortunately I cannot at the moment remember what these lies all are.  I’ll have to do some research.  All I presently know is often times when the NRA executive vice-president, Wayne La Pierre, opens his mouth, these lies & a quaint perspective come pouring out like, for example, President Obama is going to take away everybody’s firearms.  Please, give us a break, Mr. Banana Clip!

This poor old tramp, me, would really like to come in out of the wind for a while & relax.   But then a little monster like La Pierre comes along & I gotta go to work spewing words again.  It really tightens my cinch.

~ Rawclyde!