“Dusty Feet” appeared in the Bowery News in 1947 (no date, but it was Volume 1, Number 10). John was 17 at the time; it was one of his first sales. I assume he was indulging in some poetic license in some of these lines….
The Bowery News, subtitled “The Voice of Society’s Basement,” was aimed at “mission stiffs and hoboes, dock wallopers and pearl divers [dock workers and dishwashers], wingies and plingies [one-armed beggars and panhandlers], smokehounds and canned heat artists [drug addicts and wood alcohol drinkers]“; John contributed occasionally in his teens. It was originally called the Hobo News, reviving an earlier paper by that name. And here he is photographed by one of the paper’s regulars.