The Man in the Street

How often
is he there
in front of you?

Just another bloke
like you

except, perhaps,
a lack of personal hygiene

or its pathological opposite,

his way of regarding you
far too directly
without blinking

for the longest time.

When he asks for a cigarette
do you oblige

in spite of yourself?

Because in this stark room
you cannot reconcile
the rhetoric

on the face of it –

just another human being
in the silence,

no manifest difference
to teach the rookies,

no monster in plain sight
to slay with a bedside light,

just this banality
of evil

sitting in the corner
of your nightmares.


24 thoughts on “The Man in the Street

    • Thanks, Gabe. When a heinous, heinous crime is committed like the one I suspect we are both thinking of, it’s as if there’s some amorphous thing out there that is seeping into everything and it creates a huge culture of fear. And I often wonder what the police go through when they come face to face with this thing that, on the face of it, is just a pathetic human being.
      The footage from the CCTV camera of the victim and alleged killer just haunts, and I commend the police for their work on these cases – it must be terribly disturbing to work on solving such terrible crimes.

  1. Beautiful flow, BB. Now people will be searching for your blog with “sitting in the corner,” “nightmares and monsters,” and “cigarettes in stark rooms for rookies.” 😉

  2. Oooh, that’s quite chilling, BB. It is the hidden ones which are the most unnerving: you don’t know they’re there. Topical for us today in the UK, as one of our most famous celebrities, now died, has been revealed as someone very different to how we thought of him.

  3. This is your “I’m not too fond of humanity” poem, I take it. Do not let this guy in your bedroom. Although stalking one’s waking hours isn’t any better.

    • Hello there, Monica. This was prompted by an horrific crime that took place in Melbourne a few weeks ago. I was thinking of how we talk of ‘monsters’, and then when the perpetrator is caught, what we see is just some pathetic human being whose brain is malfunctioning. And I was wondering how the police deal with facing this side of humanity on a daily basis, and an angry and traumatised public.

  4. Chilling. You really captured the darkness that must exist in such a person. I could weep thinking about recent events. I have a friend who was a victim of such a crime. She survived (physically) but in many ways has been destroyed mentally. I still ache thinking about what she went through. She met her attacker years later and he wasn’t the monster she had imagined but an everyday, if very damaged man. She actually felt sorry for him in spite of what he had done. One of your best.

    • Thanks, Selma. How terrible for your friend. The mental anguish can be devastating, as you say, and the anger. And the confusion she must feel at feeling sorry for the person who did it!! Almost too much to bear, I think. xx

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