The Old Man and the TV ( A Street Poem)

The old man sat in the darkness
Taking in what he could see
He smiled, although slyly
And he leaned in close to me

He said the air is different
You can taste it here abouts
Listen close to what’s around you
The air is different…there’s no doubt

I didn’t understand him
He spoke in concepts, not in words
He talked of feeling the emotions
Of people running ’round in herds

He said, I’ve been here sixty years now
Seen people come and people go
I used to be the barkeep
But, then that’s something that you know

I’ve seen Elvis and The Beatles
Seen Presidents and Kings
I’ve seen hearts torn all asunder
And the pain that a war brings

I saw Kennedy on that TV
That, one behind your head
I watched him drive on straight through Dallas
And moments later he was dead

This place was just dead silent
On the day that that man died
And hand to god I’ll tell you
I was all torn up inside

I saw soldiers in that Vietnam
Fighting for what? I don’t know
I saw them on that TV there
I watched them lining up to go

I saw them having rally’s
Taunting those who had the guns
I saw them bringing back the caskets
Of the now dead, teenage sons

That TV showed me lots of stuff
It never strayed far from the news
It always shows the Tigers game
I turn it up to hear the boos

I saw King and Bobby on that set
Taken way to young
God, it would have been a different world
To see what things they might have brung

I sat back and I listened
The old man, went on a while
He waved two fingers skyward
And said, two more beers …with his smile

My life has been a good one
I’ve been alone, except for here
I watch the outside on that set
It was then, we got our beer

I remember back when Elvis died
He was the best back in the day
But, me I liked Sinatra
Dean Martin, Bob and Ray

There was folks in here all crying
singing songs, and holding hands
on various occassions
from Lennons death, to Bobby Sands

I never really took part
In the lives of those who came
To spend their time here with me
I only knew a few by name

My job was just to serve them
Not to be their new best friend
I guess that’s why I sit here still
Watching, waiting for the end

That set has shown me good and bad
That one, behind your head
It hasn’t worked for fifteen years
We got a new one in instead

It’s there as a reminder
more to me, than those still here
That life is for the living
And I’m alive while I am here

He rose and turned back to me
Said, it’s time for us to close
I’ll be back again tomorrow
To watch more highs and maybe lows

I watched the old man shuffle
To his room, and to his bed
Past the TV he saw life on
On the wall behind my head.

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