nthposition online magazine

A life

by Robert Nazarene

[ poetry - july 08 ]

He drove a lunchbox on wheels
that wheezed and smoked like a demon.
With so many dents it looked
like a practice target for a Saturday night
bowling league. He rose for work at 7 AM
sharp to throw darts with the graveyard
shift at "The Shoot Out" and once,
or so it was claimed, he even hit
the board. But, come nighttime -
it took a whole lot of medicine
and karaoke
for him to pretend
he was somebody else.

He liked to say "A man's best friend
is his dog." And he meant it.
He had more "best friends"
than anybody in town.
He wasn't much for family
reunions, deathbed vigils, funerals,
graduaton parties. He didn't eat dessert.
He never owned a home.
Girlfriends always thought twice.

He liked to say: "If it isn't broken,
fix it 'til it is." He deserved a better
life than the one he made for himself,
the life others helped to make for him.
He never wasted time
telling the truth. He never read
the writing on the wall, though,
he helped create some.

But God he was cheerful. Down-and-
out optimistic - before the glass turned
from half-empty to What next?
He was always the last one in line,
always the first to forgive,
even tonight - when I close my eyes -
I can still feel him - apologizing -
off the bridge.