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On the day Danny built the hobo
he thought all of his life's problems had been
solved
by this hobo built out of pieces of many other hobos
which were probably more like five main hobos and some
odds and ends from
some other, less interesting hobos

but here is the thing about hobos:
they like coffee and trains and fire in metal receptacles
and did I mention trains?
so no sooner had Danny completed his hobo
and brought it to life with puppy blood and bones
(just like Rhiannon, which song was playing
on the CD changer that day)
(except that he'd mixed his metaphors
as happens
to geology majors who secretly
always wished to be lit majors)
when the hobo bounded up and asked for some


well listen
the hobo asked for some fried potatoes or cabbage
or beans
or a bandage for its purple intestines spilling
out the inexpertly stitched abdominal wall
and all Danny had was some mint iced tea

even a hobo has its limits
it can be friends with you, or knife you
it can haul you up onto a moving train
share its last smoke
tell you which towns to avoid due to over-zealous
sheriff activity
or fling a carved peach pit at you in the shape of your own head
but with distinctly canine features

or it can just leave
on the next train

crouched beside auto parts, sniffing the wind through
metal slats painted with graffiti that are better
than any art project you ever attempted

Danny had a choice
he had no hobo
just a lot of leftover parts
maybe enough for one small hobo
legless

he built a fire in an old oil drum
and tossed in the hobo parts
and some photos of ex-girlfriends
and the macaroni necklace he made in second grade
and the letter from his dad telling
him
that he was a real good son
(just not good enough, apparently)
and that maybe when he was older, he would understand and
they could go riding in his dad's GTO and drink a couple beers

the fire burned it all up
Danny dressed in layers
headed north on a Norfolk Southern
wondered if there was a place for a man
like him
in the world
or if it was all just one big can of beans
waiting to bubble
over somebody else's
oil can fire
Inspired by Shakes72's photo on Twitter, which was of a homemade hobo fire he made. I thought it would be more impressive if he'd made an actual hobo. Which thinking leads to stuff like the above. You can see the photo here:

twitter.com/TheShakes72/status…

Shakes is actually more a writer guy than a guy who builds tiny fires. Please check out this guy's work--it is *excellent.*
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Submitted on
January 12, 2015
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