Friday, February 5, 2016
HUMPTY DUMPTY CATCHES A BREAK
Nearly two years ago
she pushed me
off a perch
and I tumbled
back to NYC
where, like a frozen piece of Bonomo's Turkish Taffy,
smashed upon a marble table top,
into a million bite-sized pieces.
I was sixty-six
and had never wanted
anyone to love me
so badly. And
even though I knew
it was her own fear,
her own prison and
her own poison
guarding her gate, I felt
old, fat, poor
I hated my job
& now hated it more;
I ducked & bobbed & wove
& didn't care if I sold
& made enough for rent or not--
until I couldn't make rent.
Unemployment carried me
until it didn't; friends carried me
until they couldn't & another half-ass job carried me
until they wouldn't.
I pawned the only things left
of my parents & closed the coffin
from which they screamed; I pawned my books
& numbed my own wails, but still I wrote,
still I listened to music and still I listened
to my shrink who asked I give him
everything I could
except for money.
"Savage is he who saves himself,"
Leonardo wrote. I sent away a hundred resumes,
made a hundred calls. Agencies had closed,
contacts had died or didn't return phone calls;
and I was old for a man
with no money, no certificates, no advanced degrees.
I sought out government agencies,
went through the most demeaning explanations of failures
and accepted handouts and help from every and any anonymous hand.
I sat for hour after hour after hour surrounded
by a living death,
smelling stillbirth dreams,
listening to babies wail,
in halls that held a few hundred of life's satisfied customers
without apartments, homes, money, food, or hope. Filled out
form after form after form went on interview after interview.
Knowing full well that a few scant years ago I sat
on the other side of that desk.
I was luckier than most.
I've always been luckier than most
with jobs, women, and the few friends I allowed
to get close. I met someone at an agency who
liked me who introduced me to someone else
who also liked me. Week after week,
even though I did not have much hope
I hoped and went. A gig opened up
& he pushed & pushed harder after HR told him
I didn't meet certain requirements. He pushed
harder. I met with two VP's of the program
who were impressed and were able to circumvent
some requirements & welcomed me aboard. Which
is what "Getting Another Shot At It" is about.
The city & a private charity
has paid my rent for the past five months.
I feel like a shit heel
but I'll get over it...most of it.
There will be no healing
the fractures I feel
in my soul; no getting over
her or the kind of love
I have for her.
There isn't supposed to be.
But life has its own Crazy Glue.
You stick to it long enough
those crazy bones knit
in their own screwy way. Not
the way they were when you entered
but enough to get you to the exit.
And who knows?
there might be someone
with a flat tire,
or a thumb out,
or a woman splitting
from a convent
along the way.
Who am I
to say no?
Greenwich Village, 2016