Wednesday, September 14, 2011

poem of the day 09.14.11

but she looked like my mother

it seems like forever and always
that i’m getting on this bus
after having my ass kicked by the day
having gnats and other bugs circling
waiting for the flaking skin to fall off

a man grows tired of a life like this
especially with so many more of them to go

she was in the back of the bus
on the edge of her seat
just waiting for someone like me to sit down

she looked like my mother

of course she starts talking to me
the minute i put my tired bones in a seat

told me that she was lost in brooklyn
after a day of september 11th events in manhattan

someone had told her to take the r train
but the r train led her down here
into subterranean new york

so someone else told her to take this bus

it was a long story and i didn’t really feel
like listening to her
because i’d been listening to people
since nine-thirty that morning

but she looked like my mother
so i let her talk to me as the bus carried us
along the potholed brooklyn streets

i could tell by the accent that she wasn’t
from around here

she was from rochester, new york
she was wearing a one piece floral outfit

with a red cross visor full of world trade center pins
and had her blonde gray hair in a ponytail
which made her look just like my mother
which got me to thinking about if my mother
got lost in brooklyn after some 9/11 rally

because that’s just the sort of thing she’d come to
if she came to new york city in september

this lady talked to me about rochester
and 9/11 and the new terrorist threats
how they were checking cars on all of the bridges
checking bags in the subway

i’d grown so tired of hearing about
this stuff in the last ten years

but she looked just like my mother
so it was fine if she wanted to talk about such things

i kept telling her that we were getting closer to her stop
i told her to get off of the bus when i did

it was the most conversation that i could make
after another work day

after having some old asshole friend delete me
on his social network page
because i made fun of his god and country again

and i thought, shit, if he could see me now
helping this lady who looked just like my mother
maybe he wouldn’t have been such a douche about the jesus thing

maybe he would’ve realized that you didn’t have
to plop your ass on a church pew every week
of fly flags just to prove that you were a decent human being

but then i decided fuck him
who needed a cocksucker like that in my life anyway

besides i had this lady now
who really looked just like my mother
and she was my responsibility

so when the bus got to our stop
she started looking around the street
more lost than she seemed only moments ago
i knew that i couldn’t leave this lady
just stranded there on 4th avenue

so i started walking her down to her hotel
and, christ, if she didn’t move slowly

she started talking to me about her hip replacement surgery
and about the doctors in rochester
about how tired she was walking manhattan
with a bum hip
doing all of that 9/11 stuff while hobbling around

i felt bad because over the years i guess
i’ve become a new yorker

i walk pretty fast

i was about half a block ahead of this lady
telling her not to worry about how slow she was moving

i told her that it was all right
even though i knew my wife would be getting worried

but she looked like my mother
so i figured when i got home, i would tell my wife this
she would see that i didn’t die in any terrorist attack
that i wasn’t mugged or murdered
on these ever desperate streets

that the work world hadn’t swallowed me whole

but that i was just being a decent human being for a change
taking time out of my life to help someone

someone who happened to look just like my mother
find her way somewhere concrete

in this city full of questions without answers
and broken, battered, beaten down
old dusty dead dreams.

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