Guest Feature: Waiting for Someone – Lamar Jorden

“Somewhere
In the Northwest region of Seattle Washington
There’s a homeless man, armed with a beer can
Trying to drink away war memories
Waiting for someone
Self-less enough to lend him an ear
He sits on the side of a Pizzeria on the corner of Queen Ann and Mercer
In a chair, they probably kick him out of after business hours
His skin
Has grown all too fond of the concrete beds that he rest his shell-shocked head on
His braggadocios body
rocks back and forth showing off to the world the only gifts war veterans ever receive
He addresses me, “Ey lil Bra, you got a dollar?”
Without even checkin my pockets I tell him, “I aint got it”.
Having anticipated this appointment he responds with,
“That’s fine, cause I really wanted a 20.”
Amazed, not that he still knows what humor is,

but that is one of the few possessions that the war actually let him keep, I laugh
Before digging into my coat pocket filled with a ton of change I’ll probably never use
He lets me know that more than a 20, what he really wanted was a conversation
And takes my 75 cent donation as an invitation to start one
Without offering much space for me to converse,

he lets me know how in this country,
war veterans are rarely anything more
Than patriotic flies on a wall
And that for all these people to ignore his request
Is just as second nature as swatting at a pest
I guess
None of them realize that here lie their tax dollars at work
His body jerks
To the percussion of his bones
Dancing to the song of post-traumatic stress syndrome
How wrong
Is it of humans to lack humanity
Demanding he keep his lips locked but
Possess the audacity to ask where he got his army cap on
To think it’s a trigger you can purchase at a gift shop he tells me
That they’ve labeled him as crazy and they say

he has to take medicine called percadine but the one time he took it
It made him high so why would he continue when it makes his mind worse with time
It seems like the perfect crime
Having people fight for a country that won’t fight for them
The goal
Was for one of those countries to take his life from him
And the opposing country failed when he
Returned to civilization but
The home country would succeed by stripping him of his home
How long
Will this be the standard in this country?
Where if war doesn’t kill you
They distill you
Sending you back home just to rot and mildew
the phrase
“War is good for absolutely nothing”, is still true
Before he lets me go,
he tells me
that he wants to die.
And I see the tear-shaped white flag surrender from his eye
I give him a pound
Before digging back into my coat pockets surrendering

the rest of the change I found.
I tell him I have to go
Cause there’s a white man, screaming at me through traffic
Waiting for me to end this conversation
There’s a young lady at a bar and grill across the street
Waiting for me to join her for dinner
And there’s a poem
Scratching at the insides of my soul
Waiting for me
To tell this story.”

Copyright Lamar Jorden

 

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