From the new poetry manuscript....
Help Me

100 bad jobs
before you publish a poem.

Another lunch break, another
greasy paper bag with another
bologna and cheese sandwich.

Invisible to women,
not enough money in my pocket
to get robbed.
Public toilet
on an otherwise
heartless California day.

An empty wheelchair
in the middle of the room.

A voice:
"Hey guy?"


He was in the stall,
pants around his ankles
in a cloud of stink.

"Help me?"

"What do you need?"

"I can't
get my pants
back up."

I said.

I bent to him
pulled up his under
pants, pulled up
his corduroys,
pulled up
his zipper, closed
the button, worked
the belt buckle.

"At least you didn't
have to wipe me,

I waltzed him
to his chair, got him
folded into the seat.

"Whoo," he said.

"Whoo," I said.

"My lunch," he said. "Could you
get my lunch?"

It was beside the tolet. Brown
paper bag. Mom
had put a banana in there.
I felt his life in my hand--his mornings, his
birthday, Christmas, bed-time.

"Man," he said. "Thank you.

And have a good day."

I broke into the sun, walking,
walking, back down the sidewalk,
back to work,

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