The Man I Remembered

Fortune is not yours or mine
success is not a thing to own
in January as in July
the rain falls where the ground is dry.

Under the big American flag
down along the main drag
where lost boys and girls
panhandle and hang out
where dogs bark and bums shout,

I ran into an old friend
staying with his parents
for a week or maybe more
while looking for real work
a job that pays him what he’s worth.

He had interviews lined up
according to the bars nearby
he said that was his strategy
for stress reduction, I said,
‘good luck with that.’

But first, Friday night
which flows into Saturday
which flows into debauchery
which flows into Sunday
and it all flows together.

I guess it was for old times sake
for the glory of college days
I went with him on his rounds
but only lasted til the sun went down
and he disappeared into downtown.

A month later I tripped over him
his hands shaking his eyes dim
even though I knew the answer
I asked him whether he’d found that job
and he lied to me, the stubborn slob.

The image of waste and despair
I gave him a ten and said ‘take care’
I didn’t know what else to do
I said to myself something like a prayer
for the man no longer the man I knew.

After couple of years had passed
I couldn’t believe the contrast
I saw him at a fancy fundraiser
he was the chair of some sort of board
and they were giving him a big award.

He gave me a hug and whispered
in my ear something I’ll never forget
he said, ‘I never would’ve prospered
if I had not known such distress,’
and I saw in his eyes the man I remembered.

Fortune is not yours or mine
success is not a thing to own
in January as in July
the rain falls where the ground is dry.

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About mrsorenson

all over the place
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