Raymond Reininger
2011 New Jersey Senior Poet Laureate

Raymond Reininger, 66, Sayreville, returns to the circle of winners in this yearís Senior Poets Laureate competition for American poets age 50 and older. He is a disabled vteran who wrote more than 1000 poems in five years. Ray last won the New Jersey Senior Poet Laureate award in 2009. He is noted for saying that if poetry were a woman ďthen poetry is my wife.Ē He is the divorced father of two daughters. Ray makes jewelry and does local poetry readings in cafes. His astrological sign is Scorpio.


Every day I pass the homeless man sleeping on the bench.
Heís a fixture here that everyone knows. .
Curled asleep on his bench of his choosing, .
His God-awful clothing covers his bruising.

He has no name and even less time.
No one has ever seen the color of his eyes.
When sitting he slouches and rarely looks up,
But when he does itís quite abrupt.

Few approach him and even fewer care.
Heís just the old man sleeping on the bench.
His troubles are few, if you donít count dying alone,
The poor man with a bench for a home.

This morning the E.M.T. placed him in an ambulance.
No longer would anyone be annoyed by his foul odor.
Nor would they need to think of bringing him coffee,
You see three days ago the bench set him free.

Shame on me and everyone else,
A homeless veteran gave up his life.
Covered last night by a dusting of snow,
The horror of it all is that he died three days ago.

Raymond Reininger