He's just sittin' there on his bed goin' through his papers, his bills
Needin' to get some pills, get his prescriptions filled.
I don't know how many there are, or what they're all from,
But my ears are open as the beat of his mouth drum
Tells me the tales, creeps to the jails of my understanding,
Sets them free, pours into me all the sickness and misery
Untouched by the reaches of Medicaid. It's like watching an ant parade
Pass in front of my slow motion camera eyes, all scurrying in struggled steps
While my strong, alpha male body can only observe with helpless hands.
He asks me to read the numbers, find the facts his cataracts
Are unable to reach. And the papers pass 'cross the hall,
Fall on clean fingers now stained with their ink.
All my thoughts sink and scatter to footsteps I have raced,
Traced all around this city, trying to taste every hasty decision
I have yet to make.
"This won't take too long," he says,
Eyes turn red with embarrassment, sitting in a dingy corner of a beaten down house,
Hot and pounding the searing un-conditioned air
Falling with droplets of sweat on a beating conscience.
So I sit there as he waits expectantly, smiles approval at the information I have confirmed.
The hurry bug squirms out my ear,
Fears and concerns spurned for the pleasure of this moment,
This service to a 70-year old man with puffy fingers and scarred legs on a shriveled body.
Hospital stories turn to ancient histories of jazz clubs and colorful towns.
Moonlight drowns the clock through the window.
I shift on the faltering cushion supporting me
Breathing stale, tobacco-laden air like it was the first giggle of springtime,
Finding beauty in his wrinkle surrounded sight,
Catching the faint gleams of hope and friendship
Lost in years of wanderings through self-pleasured quests and wasted treasure chests.
Is this me or him I am thinking about?
A moment of doubt as I walk out the door,
Re-enter the whirlpool rush of western culture,
Breathe the fumes of this convolution cavalcade,
Life charading in frightened forms, desperate storms of urgency.
I'm thinking of him tapping his knee,
Curly gray hair winking back at me,
Leaning silently till a dirty pillow kisses his tired face,
And George takes his place.