Poetry on the Ave

Once again against my will, I worked too close to Jasper today. There was noplace else on the block to set up the fish shop. 

I'm weary of hearing him scream, and screaming is basically how he talks. I know his crazy past and bizarre tendencies, because they're obvious, and anyway he never stops talking/screaming about them. He's loud and in-your-face with his preaching of anarchy, and I don't like preachers, even without god.

That said, he hasn't done anything that specifically annoyed me since December, and weirdly he's been kind of friendly of late. He even says (or screams) good morning at me. Sometimes he suckers me in, and I say good morning back.

I hate the guy, though, and not because he's the putz who ratted out Jay & I for violating an obscure city regulation. I've never been a tattletale, but I'm a putz in other ways, as are we all, so I could eventually forgive and forget. 

But I ain't forgiving or forgetting a damned thing, not so long as he hasn't asked me to. To stop hating Jasper that's what I'd need — an apology. "I'm a hypocritical anarchist, out here preaching anarchy on the Ave all the time, and then turning your name over to the authorities. Sorry about that."

If he can't find the courage to say he's sorry about that, it means he isn't, and if he isn't sorry then he's an ass. 'Good morning' is the best he'll get from me, and I regret even that.

♦ ♦ ♦  

"Barnes is enough."
Barnes is one of the bums of Berkeley. Sometimes we talk a little, sometimes we nod. He's hairy, dirty, smelly, and wears rags, a description that fits fifty people on the Ave.

He knows I'm Doug, but nobody knows Barnes' first name. I asked him once, and he said, "Barnes is enough."

Today he sat on the sidewalk not far from my table and started begging, but with a pitch I hadn't heard before. "Poetry for a dollar," he said. Nobody was interested in poetry — imagine that — but some people dropped coin in his can to avoid hearing poetry.

It was a clever shtick, I thought, but I was curious to see what he might come up with if someone wanted a poem, so when nobody was buying fish for a while, I strolled over and handed him a dollar. "Poem me," I said.

He reached into his pocket and handed me half an 8½x11, neatly ripped, then folded — a disappointment before even glancing at it.

"Cripes, Barnes," I said, "I thought you'd write or recite something on the spot, just for me." And I regretted saying it. Probably hurt his feelings.

"Oh no, man," Barnes said. "True poetry can't be rushed like that. It takes work."

I said thanks, read the poem, and said, "Nice, man." At my table, I taped it into my notebook, and now I'll share it with you, dear reader:

are forever
Im gone with the wind
Diamond's are not broken
like glass

From Pathetic Life #23
Saturday, April 13, 1996

This is an entry retyped from an on-paper zine I wrote many years ago, called Pathetic Life. The opinions stated were my opinions then, but might not be my opinions now. Also, I said and did some disgusting things, so parental guidance is advised.

No comments:

Post a Comment

🚨🚨 If you have problems posting a comment, please click here for help. 🚨🚨