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I'm a failure

I locked my car door
and looked up and this
guy walked up
he looked like my old
friend Peter
but he wasn't Peter
he was this gaunt gringo
in blue workshirt and jeans
and he said,
"hey, man, my wife and I
need something to eat, we
want to go to a Kentucky Fried
Chicken, o.k.?"
I looked over on the sidewalk
and here was his fat Mexican
woman
and she stared at me
her eyes near
tears.
I gave him a five.
"I love you, man!" he
hollered, "I'm not going to
spend it for drink."
"why not?" I answered,
"I would..."

I went into a building
took care of some business
came out
got into my car
as always
contemplating about
whether I had given
properly
or been taken
properly.

as I drove off
I remembered my years on the
bum
starved damn near beyond repair
I had never asked for a
dime.

that night after some drinks
I explained to the lady I lived with
how so often I gave money to panhandlers
but I myself
in the darkest hungriest times of
madness had
never asked for
anything.

"you just didn't know how to do
things," she answered.

    
Open All Night - 2000

I'm a failure

I locked my car door
and this
guy walked up
he looked like my old
friend Peter
but it wasn't Peter
it was a skinny dude
in blue workshirt and torn jeans
and he said,
"hey, man, my wife and I
need something to eat!
we're starving!"
I looked behind him
and there was his
woman
and she stared at me
her eyes brimming with
tears.
I gave him a five.
"I love you, man!" he
hollered, "and I'm not going to
spend it on booze!"
"why not?" I said.

I went and
took care of some business
came back
got into my car
and
contemplated
whether I had done
something good
or been taken.

as I drove off
I remembered my years on the
bum
starved damn near beyond repair and
I had never asked anyone for a
dime.

that night
I explained to the lady I lived with
how I often gave money to panhandlers
but that
in the darkest hungriest times of my
life I had refused
to ask anyone for
anything.

"you just never knew how to do anything
right," she said.