Tuesday, July 11, 2023


Well, well, well, guess who turned 67 just the other day?
A neighbor distributed a flyer right at our doorway
Inviting us to a gathering to celebrate
   near the benches just before dark
Plum center, a photo of the birthday boy,
   the old man who lives in the park

Sadly, I couldn't rally to make it to the happy event
Even though I would consider myself one of his friends
Life intruded, parenthood and the pandemic's dismal reality
Meant that I missed out on the trappings of that ceremony

What do you give the man who has nothing but wants nothing?
I racked my brain:
   what could possibly be an adequate contribution?
Moreover, would he really want to be celebrated
   or, rather, left alone?
After all, when the party's over,
   the park would still be his humble home

At his age, one would traditionally be prime for retirement
Clearly though, besides his clothes and blanket,
   he has no safety net
Despite the gestures we've made
   to maintain a modicum of community
For all we know, he may not even be collecting social security

It can't be easy this life of his, being homeless
Street life, the whole world watching all your business
The soul of the neighborhood was the flyer's consensus
67, this old man. Think first, of the least of us

zinnias flower garden

The Old Man Who Lives in the Park (Redux), a playlist

A soundtrack for this note. (spotify version)

See previously: The Old Man Who Lives in the Park

This note is part of a series: In a covidious time.

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Writing log: September 11, 2021

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