Thursday, February 19, 2015

poem of the day 02.19.15

jimmy vs. technology

about once a week
jimmy comes down from the adult group home

he’s always got his guitar slung over his shoulder
like he’s come back from rehearsal or a gig

his long, gray hair is held back by a sea foam bandana
that has seen better days

it’s like jimmy

every time he’s in its reinventing the wheel
he can’t remember his password
can’t figure out how to make the internet work
doesn’t remember his yahoo! mail account

i say, jimmy why are you still doing yahoo!

i want to be up to date, man, he says

jimmy once asked me if i played guitar
because i have long hair like he does
and it’s kind of going gray

no, i told him…i chose a lesser art

jimmy has the worst trouble with the copy machine
i can’t blame him

the thing can email and fax and send text messages
it’s a bit daunting for a guy who just needs to copy
his legal and medical papers

when he’s in the building i know it’s only a matter of time
before jimmy and i will both be at the copier
testing our technological limits

that’s usually when jimmy
will go on about the adult home

how bad the food is
how horrible it is being locked inside and incapable

they treat you like
you’re nothing there, man, he says

i try to picture jimmy in the adult home

grateful dead t-shirt and hendrix on his turntable
faded jeans and the green field jacket he’s always wearing

nurses checking to make sure he’s taking his pills

the baby boomers have instilled such an image of youth
it’s hard to imagine them getting old and feeble

that all of that 1960s idealism is rotting
in institutions made for assembly line death

but jimmy is walking talking proof that life is moving on

once i’m there we get the copies made quickly
it’s usually jimmy’s social security card and his benefits i.d.

you always help me out, man, he says

like he’s surprised
like i’m not getting paid for this

i wish i could give you something, brother
like a bag of barbecue chips from my illegal stash

because jimmy is still sticking it to the man

do you want some barbecue chips?
jimmy pulls out a half-eaten bag of wise

no, i say
i settle for a handshake instead

then jimmy leaves because he’s thirsty
i watch him go across the street to the bodega

a moment later he comes out with a 20oz. coke
bends his knees like he’s playing a guitar solo
when he takes his first sip

wipes the caramel color from his mouth
before he walks off toward the promised land.

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