Original Gangster!?

You might think you know

Where he comes from

By noting the precision

Of his feet as they

Rest in sandals.

Atop the spattered glass concrete.

Looking at the charisma

Buzzing within his disposition,

You might imagine his room—

The bed sheets and blankets

Sucking on the mattress,

The ugly, throw rug

Nestling into the neatness

The slippers placed neatly,

The rubbing alcohol sink,

The meandering cockroaches

Illuminated on tile shininess—

This all may be the product of keen insight,

But you certainly wouldn’t know

Where the man comes from.

 

Walking the beat,

You might find him

Perched at one of the spots

That if you were to stand in,

Would bring

The world coming at you

Streaming like neon

Through the squalor

Of this dusty grime district.

You would see loving eyes

Of the curious suburban kitties

And the strawberry burns

Of co-working social service workers.

You would see

Firm handshakes

Flirtatious looks

Vibrant stage frights

You would see

The flatness of those

Who have stopped caring

For themselves

In everyone.

 

He will converse

With Caucazoids

Cross the street

From the court house,

Who you can see,

Savor their dainty discussions

Striding back into their day

Feeling good about themselves,

He will take

A mysterious interest

In a couple that is

In conflict

Too much near his vicinity.

His words spurt like blood

Sorting out the problem

So that the couple leaves

Feeling good about them selves.

He will speak to

The Project’s management

Sharing silent words

That cannot be seen within

The streaming of the sunlight

So that the management will walk away

Rearranged

To transmit messages

To political connections

Feeling good about itself.

Even the pimps

Walk away feeling good

About themselves;

The pimps, the small-time dealers

Think they know where the man comes from

As he is their shepherd,

And, of course, they will leave

Feeling good about themselves

Without always realizing

What might have transpired.

 

You imagine

That obituaries are small,

If they end up in the newspaper,

And that those lies

Almost never get read

By the residents.

 

When you speak to him,

He grandfathers your imagination.

He is funny,

His meaningless conversation

Is captivating

As he wallows with you

Despite his importance.

And when he asks you

To take a walk with you

You enjoy his company,

And he’s nice to you

As he angles his head

From side to side

With his opinions

And then laughs at himself,

And it’s not until later

That you realize

That he may just

Want to kill you.

And you realize

That there is nothing you can do about it.

Of course, you’ll think

You can run back

To you’re 2.4 children

And your station wagon

And your box trim hedges,

The land from which you once came,

But what you don’t realize

Is that these things

No longer

Are real for you!

Out here the only thing you can do

Is what the man wants.

The only thing to be feared

Is the very private place where the man comes from.

 

As time scurries by

Working down here

You will find

That it is a place

If it is even real

That scares you more than death itself.

You will come to realize

With all the good you’ve seen the man do

Since his stint in the pen

That it is a place that rests

Deep inside the recesses

Of your own heart.

One day,

You will see

Yourself in him

And you will accept this life

Without wavering.

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