Yesterday, I met a man who had killed a man. I was having coffee with a friend, and this man walked up to our table pushing a shopping cart full to the brim with blankets, and other things essential for life on the road.
He said that his name was Bobby, and he started to talk a lot about himself. I think that he had had a drink, or two, but he was not belligerent; he was polite, and respectful. I asked him what it was like living on the streets, and he said that it wasn’t too bad. I asked him how he protected his all the things that he had in his cart, and he pointed to a large baseball bat like piece of lumber at the corner of the shopping cart. It was then that he told me that he had killed a man. The man had pulled a knife on him, Bobby said, but the state that he was living in at the time didn’t care about that; they put him in the penitentiary for 20 years.
I couldn’t help but wonder if alcohol was involved in the death, if Bobby had not been drinking when he pulled the trigger. Bobby wandered off with his shopping cart before I got the chance to ask him. There is a saying in recovery circles that goes, “There but for the grace of God go I.” I was very drunk, for a very long time, and operated in blackouts for many years. I thank my higher power that I never killed anyone. Bobby was full of regret for what he had done, a sincere regret for having taking the life of another man. You never know who you will bump into having coffee on a patio in Atlanta, Ga. I thank the Lord that I, and you, are alive. It is our greatest gift.
I don’t think Hank done it this way
Really it is hard to get off the beaten path
Even those of us who claim that we are original
have influences that we may not even be aware of
If I wear a dress to a business meeting
where everyone else is wearing suits
someone has probably already done that before.
Good thing that I don’t own a dress
and have no business meetings to go to.
He has established a horrible pattern
with her, and she will accept that
and it will get worse. I mean, it is
none of my business, but I have been
around the block a time or two. Advice
is mostly free, and we all know that
the only things worth having are those
that we paid for. The dogs are begging
to go outside.
I guess I’m as dumb as I always was
I expected because you were all dressed up
that you would have changed your ways
I’m a soldier in your army.
Tell me who to kill now.
I got mad because my name wasn’t up in lights
I failed to see the glint in your eyes.
The times have never been better
The times have never been better than now
The food stamps don’t quite feed me
The disability check doesn’t quite pay the rent
They fired me but the government said
I should get a check for being unemployed
Nobody is breathing down my neck
nobody is causing me to be annoyed
My time is my own
though they might cut off the phone, any day now
I am being what I want to be
the words come freely from this pen
I’ll never follow someone else’s dreams, again.
Covered in blood and puke
I never made it to the penitentiary
but I’ve spent many lonely nights
curled up on a jail cell floor.
All words by K
To order a Mikel K Book look to the Margin on the right and click his photo to go to his personal book store.