the attempt becomes a gesture
the man wearing a thin sweatshirt
and no hat stands at an uncovered
bus stop in freezing rain. he isn't me.
he's trying to light a cigarette. his
attempt becomes a gesture--
ludicrous but noble, less than
tragic but not bad at all.
he's inside whatever being alive
is for him, and i'm inside what
being alive is to me. i see him
from a warm place out of the weather.
if i were like jesus i'd go to the
man and perform a miracle--
like getting that cigarette lit,
or giving him money,
or giving him my parka, or
embracing him. he might
like all of that. except for
the embrace. he might
bite my nose off for that.
i don't do any of these things,
because it's easier not to,
and it's acceptable that i
think i'm not his keeper.
at moments like these, i
think of Bukowski,
who--i gather from his
words, i never knew
the man--thought like
jesus sometimes, i mean
with a similar toughness.
tough on everybody--
including, let's say especially,
the reflective, ignoble fuckers in
warm parkas out of the
Copyright 2011 Hans Ostrom