Men on Macadam

This city's becoming a City
making magazine articles honest.
Spring bursts with culture
and shop doors are propped open.
Friendly gusts of wind
blow sundresses taut and high
on the Main Street sidewalk
that will never hold
a folded ten for me again
so I take what I can get
in the form of a glimpse
at someone else's headache.

A curly-haired kid barely twenty
goes for the Dylan look
with an otherwise urban vibe
complete with faded sweatpants.
His tenor sax is sadly yearning
for the brand of loss he hasn't learned yet
but I drop my only single in his can regardless
with a subtle thumbs up
as I pass the pet store
that serves as the backdrop of his performance.

A few blocks down
I find a bench across from the parking lot
of a food market
that will provide enough pedestrian entertainment
if the book runs dry.
There's a man on an adjacent corner
who's bet his last five
on the government's gambling racket
more times than he's slept in clean sheets.
I'd wager my pension that he knows
the longest, darkest alleys
to empty a full bladder in
if the midnight stumble home
is too long to wait for porcelain.
I should've saved my change for him.
It's not the first time I've given prematurely
to the wrong person
though I'd rather be mistaken
than lie like a budding bluesman.

An hour goes by harmlessly.
I mark my page and walk back to my apartment
edging my way between wards of the state.

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