Wednesday, September 18, 2013


I wrote “Epitaph” (In the Cat’s Eye, 2009), to be carved on the concrete streets of inner city America.

It is what the young in the inner cities might write on the gravestones of the old. Many of them, like most youth, assume they will never grow old. And on these streets, some of them will be right: their tombstones will be the scars on the land, left by the violence that has raised them.

For those who do survive, it is a winding and sometimes terrifying road to a land of invisibility and irrelevance. In the mean streets of our cities, these are often the lost souls sitting on doorsteps and leaning against the walls of abandoned buildings, almost like they have developed a symbiotic relationship with those empty structures.

“Epitaph” describes a place where surviviors write the stories of their lives in invisible ink: on streets that belong to the young.

Glenn K. Currie
 

Epitaph


 

Hey, old man,

Shufflin’ away,

Deck is stacked

It’s the dealers’ play.

No place left

For five cent gin,

Bets are in,

You didn’t win.

 

Hey, old man,

Wallpaper face,

No one sees you,

Lost in space.

Sidewalks are filled

With fools like you,

Hangin’ around

Pretendin’ to do.

 

Hey, old man,

Holdin’ up that wall,

Your job is done,

Let it fall.

No one works

When it’s for free,

Whatever will be,

Will be, will be.

 

Hey, old man,

Don’t you know?

Jungle survivors

Are shovelin’ snow.

Plastic bags

Collectin’ lives,

Measured out

In forty-fives.