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Poem by Jade Blackmore – The Old Man Who Lived Alone February 11, 2020

Posted by vscorpiozine in poems, poetry, Veteran Poets.
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The old man lived alone in an apartment by the freeway.
The TV flickered through half pulled window blinds.
Every Christmas, a poinsettia plant guarded the doorway 

Sometimes the man would stand on the balcony and smoke cigarettes with his next door neighbor.
He’d talk about the old days.
He used to live in a house in Beverly Hills
And rode hoses with his Dad as a kid.
Worked in radio for awhile, when the money was good

Sometimes, he would walk to a waiting van on the corner
with a small plaid suitcase
to visit a friend at a nursing home
way in the Valley. 

One day, the neighbor who smoked with him on the balcony said,
“I haven’t seen him for a week.”
The old man didn’t answer the door when he knocked.
He asked the other tenants, but no one else had seen him,
And none of them had his phone number.
The powers-that-be didn’t respond to the neighbors’ concern.
Still, the TV flickered.

When the old man didn’t pay his rent,
A last-minute phone call lead to a disconnected number,
and his body on the kitchen floor.
It had been there three weeks.  

The coroner van pulled up
to nervous whispers in the hallway,
And incense burning in the next door neighbor’s apartment.
Is that all you are
In the end,
A bad smell to be covered up?

The bushes push through barbed wire by the back gate.
The chipped edges of the dresser convince the living to pass up free furniture.
Collectible pocket knives are sealed haphazardly in a cardboard box,
With a scalloped edged-photograph on top.
In a scratched black and white haze,
A boy in a cowboy hat stands in front of a pony.
A few days later, the wind blows it away.

 

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