Thursday, November 28, 2013


Cold night...
Main Street, Cambridge…
As I walk to my hotel after dinner,
a guy about my age, thin jacket, walking toward me—
more than a shuffle, but not much—
whiskeyed eyes, half a cigarette in hand.
Our gazes meet—mutual nods of hello.
Perhaps he sensed that I thought he would speak to me,
so he says “I’m not going to ask you for money,
but, I do want to talk.”

He said he was homeless, and that he’d been hurt.
“I’m on my way to my parents’ house south of Boston—
 it’s okay, I got money for the T—
just need someone to talk to first.
They’re gonna give me a hard time cuz of how I live,
and I’m just gonna have to take it,
cuz I need a place to stay while I get better.
I don’t want to argue and make them mad.
And, then, my mom’s gonna fix
all the foods I ate when I was growin’ up,
but, you know, I can’t eat them cooked that way anymore…
peppers bother me now,
and anything fried,
and when I say something, it’ll only upset her.”
I said “I know what you mean,”
and we talked about getting older,
and the intestinal troubles that hit you after forty,
and how our mothers just want to take care of us,
like when we were boys.
And we go along with it, but only for so long,
and then we feel like the worst goddamned sons in the world.

We shook our heads, saying what can you do?
then shook hands and told each other
we’re lucky to have mothers
who still want to cook for us.

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