by Marc Frazier

I am trying to quit thinking of simple human decency as a form of heroism, both in my poems and in the world. – Gabrielle Calvocoressi

most sit on the el car
minding their own business
avoiding direct eye contact
strangers making love
to their phones or reading/
someone passes through
seeking change for food,
which many of us doubt,
but a few, the least among us,
comply, though most shake
their heads and look down
at anything/
there is the one talking loudly
to himself to invisible others
and we listen and are thankful/
a man just up and punches
an elderly woman in the face
and someone pushes the button for help
while others comfort her
a middle-aged woman letting her
rest her head against her warm bosom
while others stare blankly or
shake their heads in commiseration
as two men stand in front of her
to block further attack
and I think how fast
ugliness appears and how fast
our better selves sing
yes, they sing


Marc Frazier has widely published poetry in journals including The Spoon River Poetry Review, ACM, Good Men Project, f(r)iction, The Gay and Lesbian Review, The Tampa Review, Permafrost, Plainsongs, and Poet Lore. He has had memoir from his book manuscript WITHOUT published in Gravel, The Good Men Project, decomP, Autre, and Cobalt Magazine among others. Willingly, his third poetry book, will be published by Adelaide Books early in 2019. His website is