the stranger

The Stranger

How are we blinded by things that are not what they seem? Can we ever truly see what something really is despite what it claims to be?

He was a sullen stranger,
Unused to walking tall,
Who’d crept into our city,
Harbinger of its fall.

His suit was sewn upon him.
His hat drooped across his face.
A silhouette he would hide in
And disappear without a trace.

He was quite slight in aspect,
A skeleton draped in skin.
His cigarette dripped from his mouth,
An homage to noirish kin.

He held with him a briefcase,
He’d chained it to his wrist.
In a shroud of smoke and silence,
He checked people off his list.

Then all at once he sat alone
On a bench outside a park,
He brandished then a pistol
And a shot cried to the dark.

Had there been a passerby,
They’d have wondered at this feat,
As he dusted himself off then
And wandered down the unnamed street.

His gait was one of meekness,
Yet powerfully he did stride.
He’d, on occasion, stumble,
He left his shoelaces untied.

He would gain a following,
Souls latching one by one,
Transfixed, they did harmonize:
They knew what must be done.

The blood trickled down his coat,
Mingled with the street and crowd,
And, singular in purpose,
The chorus chanted ever loud;

And as the din did caterwaul,
And its crescendo reached its peak,
The stranger bared his fangs then,
To feast upon the meek.

The crowd, in scores, transformed there,
On their own number they did prey.
The strongest from among them,
Would feed throughout the day.

The city’s now divided,
The schism paints our streets,
And each and every faction,
Upon their rival eats.

But now the sullen stranger
Is nowhere to be found,
He’s at home again in shadows,
Though his blood still stains the ground.



Tim Royan is a writer and journalist from Los Angeles who is currently being cooked alive in Phoenix. His writing has appeared in Esthesis Magazine, The Arizona Republic, Tuscon Weekly and Arizona PBS. When he’s not trying to arrange words in a pleasing sequence, Tim is usually playing, writing, listening to or ranting about music. He is known to go on tangents.

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