Life on the Low Road

old man spoke with tears in his eyes

telling tales of better days

about seasons which bled into each other

like paint

how colors seemed to fade a little each passing year

he remembered his childhood home

how he left it

went to new york one eve on a departing train

refusing to look back

until he learned

his parents died

he bought a ticket and rode the rails back

the house had burnt

along with ma and pa

he’d attended their service

avoiding contact with relatives as well as

members of the community

family friends

didn’t share any words


sat in a corner sipping wine

not feeling at all

walked out into the night amidst the fire fly glow of street lamps and

vaporous wisps of vent steam

wandered for awhile

never staying any one place too long

made many acquaintances

yet few friends

held many positions

yet never a career

moonlighting in maine

a fisherman on a rusting vessel

stint in san antonio

a night guard on the grave shift

passed time in Iowa

washing dishes for less than minimum wage

slept on park benches when times got tough

washed himself in public restrooms with bits of paper towels and antibacterial soap

surrounded himself with fringe society delegates

whores dealers thieves drunks junkies

people just as lost and

unsure as himself

it was a beautiful trip

he said

and i wouldn’t change it for the world

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