Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I walk-up to an old man
With broken crippled hands.
I inquire,
“Where is Harbor Street?”
and he responds,
“Two blocks to the east”
And with that I began to leave
but curiosity intervened,
I turned back and pressed,
“Excuse me, good sir,
it might be rude to ask
but I would like to know
how your hands were ruined so?”
A moment, maybe two passed
before he responded at last
“How is it your right
man, women, or child’s right
to walk-up to me and ask.
It is always the same question
and I tire of giving answers."
With that rebuke I made to give apology
and say, "I’m so very sorry"
but am I truly?
Why should I be?
“Indeed,” I retort,
"but is curiosity so bad,
should all people just live
their own lives rather
and to hell with everyone else?
I believe too many people
presume that already,
too many people believe
in just caring for themselves
and nobody else.
I ask you out of common courtesy,
rather than ignoring the obvious
and I ask you out of sympathy,
rather than out of
morbid curiosity.”
He then looked me straight in the eyes,
seemingly unmarred,
but in seconds his features slackened
and assumed a wearied resolve.
“Do you remember the war boy?”
I shrug,“Which one?”
The Old Man snorts, “Huh, they are all the
same to you, now aren’t they,
just words on a page.
Well, if you must know,
I was in the second one
and I was a captain
who happened to be following
another man
who thought he was John Wayne, too.
Poor chap, stepped on a mine
and was blown to bits
and…I received these (He raises his hands).
At times I wonder who got
the better deal?”
I observed him for a moment before
further probing,
“Do you think it was worth it?
Do you think you served
your country?"
The Old Man eyes narrow, “Umm, of course I served
my country, BOY,
and the worth that
was to me (He laughs)?
War is a waste, son,
a fucking waste!
Now leave me
and give me some peace.”
And so I walked away.
I had my question answered,
but ten more to ask.
With so much to brood on,
it wasn't long until I was two blocks east
on Harbor Street.