Thursday, February 4, 2010

the young man on the bus stop bench

By Charles Bukowski

he sits all day at the bus stop
at Sunset and Western
his sleeping bag beside him.
he’s dirty.
nobody bothers him.
people leave him alone.
the police leave him alone.
he could be the 2nd coming of Christ
but I doubt it.
the soles of his shoes are completely
gone.
he just laces the tops up
and sits and watches traffic.

I remember my own youthful days
(although I traveled lighter)
they were similar:
park benches
street corners
tarpaper shacks in Georgia for
$1.25 a week
not wanting the skid row church
hand-outs
too crazy to apply for relief
daytimes spent laying in public parks
bugs in the grass biting
looking into the sky
little insects whirling above my head
the breathing of white air
just breathing and waiting.

life becomes difficult:
being ignored
and ignoring.
everything turns into white air
the head fills with white air
and as invisible women sit in rooms
with successful bright-eyed young men
conversing brilliantly about everything
your sex drive
vanishes and it really
doesn’t matter.
you don’t want food
you don’t want shelter
you don’t want anything.
sometimes you die
sometimes you don’t.

as I drive past
the young man on the bus stop bench
I am comfortable in my automobile
I have money in two different banks
I own my own home
but he reminds me of my young self
and I want to help him
but I don’t know what to do.

today when I drove past again
he was gone
I suppose finally the world wasn’t
pleased with him being there.

the bench still sits there on the corner
advertising something.

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