Poem with an explanation: hiding

At five,
before light,
packed up,
to the car,
moved some,
changed the shirt,
pack held,
bathroom time,
one check,


This poem is about a homeless man.  He was evicted from his apartment, but can’t afford to move somewhere else.  He has a job, and finds a way to live at work.  He goes to efforts to hide this from his coworkers.

The poem starts, At five.  The man wakes up at five a.m. from where he sleeps in the warehouse that he works in.  He has made a space for himself in one of shelving areas.  He wakes up this early because no one will be at work.

The next line, before light, goes with the first, and implies that he does things in darkness to avoid being seen.

The third line, packed up, describes the man packing up his sleeping items from where he was in the warehouse.

In the fourth line, to the car, the man takes these items and hides them in his car.

He then moves his car (moves some), so that his coworkers won’t see his car always in the same spot.  The idea is for them to think that he goes and comes to work.

After the man moves his car, he changes his shirt (changed the shirt).  Because he works in a warehouse, and wears blue jeans and work boots to work, he doesn’t have to change the rest of his clothes.

He then takes a pack of toiletries (pack held), and goes to the bathroom (bathroom time) to shave and wash and make himself look clean.

He lastly checks how he looks before he leaves (one check).

The poem ends by implying that the man was successful in hiding his homelessness.  The word diligence describes the diligence of his behavior but also describes how he is seen by his superiors at work.  They notice that he is the first to arrive each morning and the last to leave.  They see him as a good employee.

The idea of the poem is to describe how the man thinks others will view his homelessness.  He feels that it would be detrimental if his coworkers or superiors found out.  He is worried about the social consequences as well as if he would lose his job.  He believes that his situation is temporary, in that he will be able to save money while he lives rent-free at work and that he will be able to rent an apartment soon.  He also feels that how he lives is the best solution to his temporary problem.  He feels that hiding his temporary situation will be the best thing for him.

The idea of the poem is to have the social view of homelessness in the background of the man’s actions.

In terms of form, this poem uses the experimental poetry form: two and three from this blog.  The short lines had an effect on the presentation of the ideas.

P. S. If you like poems with explanations, please consider showing your support by purchasing a copy of Understanding: poems with explanations. It is available for a price of $0.99 (plus applicable tax if any). It would be a small thing you could do to show you like this type of work.