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Jimmy Bear

Couldn’t get a ride home
it was either wait for four hours
or start hoofin’ it for two
under the Rundberg pass
a blurred man lighting a refry

large, curly, blonde
fro-mane, like a great
thick picture frame
showing eyes and nose only
his jacket and jeans
the worn, nodescript
color of fading- red? brown? blue?
It wasn’t too cold
I had nada to do
that night, just walked by, but
we looked at each other,
eyes wondered
each others questions.
and then-

nothing

Just nothing. 
He turns face back to traffic
and I pause
There’s a convenience store
by the light, a Shell.
I head in and grab a six-pack
of high-life tall boys
and a bottle of Shiraz
snag some winstons
at the register
Outside, the traffic still held
the old man
(or at least his gaze).
I start packing the sticks
on my wrist, walking
nonchalant to the over-pass.
He turns to see who’s approaching
seeing only the guy he’s been seeing
walking down the interstate.

I flip the smokes open just before
I walk up on him
and clear my throat,
a universal and non-threatening
strangers greeting.
I offer the pack forward
with two butt ends raised above the others
and his eyebrows lift considerably,
hiding his forehead.
“Hey!  Thanks, brother!”
He says in a jovial beer-drunk tone
takes a smoke.
I pull out a tall-boy and hand it out to him,
bottom facing down and away from me
like a scalpel to a skilled doctor.
“Mind if I sit for a minute?” I ask.
He takes the beer
“Hell, sit all you want!! I don’t
own this bridge yet!”  I pull
out my own tall-boy and
plop down beside him.

He tells me
“hey, brother!  thanks a lot for all this!
You really know how to help a guy out!
Ain’t no nation like
a donation, brother!”
“True, true.” I say lamely,
and take a good pull.
His is almost empty already.
He lights the first smoke
and slowly, smiling,
hisses it in. 
man, I don’t
believe I’ve ever experienced
anything-
pleasure or terror-
with as much intensity
as he did on that
thick wisp.

“So, what’s your’ story, brother?
You get kicked out?” He asks.
“Nope. just trying to get
back home.
Nothing to do tonight, really.”
He tosses his can in what seems
like a post-hole
under the bridge.
I wonder how full it is. The hole.
I grab him another out of the bag
quick, and ask-
“So what’s your name?
If you don’t mind me asking?”
He stares at me a moment.
“I’m Jimmy!  most call me Jimmy-Bear!”
And, by god, he gave the absolute
funniest tilted -head confused look.
I almost fell over laughing
and rolled into the
unforgiving traffic.
He swigs a good bit
as I recuperate, wiping
my eyes.
“So who are you? And what
brings you here, brother?” he asks
his face energetic,
eyes looking to my bag.
I pull out another high-life
and hand it over.
“My name is Matt,” I say
and pull out two more smokes,
“and I collect characters.  Tell me
what makes you you?
And why are you here?”

he paused
his demeanor quieter
fingernail under the tab of
an unopened beer.
He sets it,
still unpopped,
between his legs.
Takes a smoke,
lights, staring at traffic.
He sighs, opens his beer
takes a swig, takes a drag
“You really want to know?”
“It’s what i do.”
and Jimmy says–

“I made a mistake and married
at nine-teen.  My ‘high-school
sweet-heart’-Hah!”, elbows my ribs,
“She liked me ‘cause it pissed
her daddy off, see?
Wanted a good investment!
And she wanted some attention, brother!”
“So what happened?”
“Oh!” long huff on the stick-
“First!” Cough, “First, she gets preg-o! Y’know!
You do everything to avoid it,
but as soon as they think they want one...?
BAM!!!!”
“Damn…” I felt a reply was needed.
“That was right after graduation,”
He goes on,  “And I’m trying to do the right thing!”
“Uh-huh.”
“I try to marry her. Take
responsibility, right?!
But the dad!!” Puff, hiss,
“Her dad hates me!!
sees me as a BUM!!” He yells.
I nod.  Sip…
“So the baby comes ‘round and
here’s this girl with a bastard kid
and a dad- reviling her
with her crimes to the
‘Good Family Name’!!
So to piss him off,
she moves in with me
and my room-mate”

“Was it a boy or a girl?” I ask.
“What?”
“You’re kid.  Was it a boy
or a girl?”
“Girl.!  We called her Stephanie-“
At this point a large rig
drove by drowning out
all sound for a second.
I hate asking people to
repeat themselves-
‘-the second bedroom.
Really cramped, y’know?”
He said at the end of the ruckus.
“Hard times are how you
find who you are, though!”
I said, feeling stupid for it much later.
“You are who you’re fucking!”
He tells me,
“And you hate yourself for it!”

I took that to heart.
I wasn’t fucking anybody.

About that beer later-
“I think i got what I came for.”
I tell him, standing up.
“Don’t you want to know how i got here?”
he asks, bewildered
looking at my shopping bag.
I take out the bottle of Shiraz
and tuck it under my arm,
then hand him the bag of
the last tall boys,
paul and ringo,
He takes it wide-eyed. “Hey!
Ain’t no doubt like a hand-out!”
He quips,
then face gone desolate
again. Sad and worn-
“You got another smoke, brother?”
I laugh.
“I don’t even smoke, man!”
I say as I toss him
the rest of the winstons
and start walking again
towards home,
with my bottle of wine.

Review Request (Intensity): 
I want the raw truth, feel free to knock me on my back
Review Request (Direction): 
What did you think of my title?
How was my language use?
How does this theme appeal to you?
How was the beginning/ending of the poem?
Is the internal logic consistent?
Last few words: 
i've read alot of poetic prose so here's a very prosetic poem.
Editing stage: 

Comments

is this true? if you dont mind. it's very interesting; great write.

half n half. drank a twelver with a homeless guy under a bridge, once, but had an entirely different discussion.
some of it's from my brother, some from random encounters. a conglomerate of memories.
plus, a lot of it i just made up.

t_f

author comment

I was surprised at your reply to emo, it has the ring of truth, I felt like you were saying just what happened. One thing bothered me in terms of narrative potency “I think i got what I came for.” I wanted more. And that's quite a compliment for an already long poem.

cheers,
Jess
Neopoet Directors

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