my buddy

for a 21 year old boy in New Orleans I wasn’t worth
much:   I had a dark small room that smelled of
piss and death
yet I just wanted to stay in there, and there were
two lively girls down at the end of the hall who
kept knocking on my door and yelling, “Get up!
There are good things out here!”

“Go away,” I told them, but that only goaded
them on, they left notes under my door and
scotch-taped flowers to the
doornob.

I was on cheap wine and green beer and
dementia…

I got to know the old guy in the next
room, somehow I felt old like
him; his feet and ankles were swollen and he couldn’t
lace his shoes.

each day about one p.m. we went for a walk
together and it was a very slow
walk:   each step was painful for
him.

as we came to the curbing I helped him
up and down
gripping him by an elbow
and the back of his
belt, we made it.

I liked him: he never questioned me about
what I was or wasn’t
doing.

he should have been my father, and I liked
best what he said over and
over:    “Nothing is worth
it.”

he was a
sage.

those young girls should have
left him the
notes and the
flowers.