Rotten teeth, dirt creased face,
he’d come in for a hot and a cot
and collapsed with DTs,
this old English professor
who survived like a bass
you catch and release—
hooked in June and again in September.
He’d drink his way back
to his sidewalk claim,
where pedestrians crossed his body
like cars slowed by an obstacle.
One night I decked him out
with a Foley and fresh Johnny,
and in our quiet space asked
what he thought about,
sprawled on his concrete slab.
His jaundiced eyes glowed
and his cracked lips smiled,
You know, Dr B, I think about
Oscar Wilde when he said
“We are all in the gutter
but some of us are looking at the stars.”
Yeah, yeah I know that sounds like BS.
People walk over me like I’m a sack
of shit, but I’m laughing inside
because I know they can’t see how,
deep down, I’m a total perfectionist.
© Richard M. Berlin