spring and an encounter with Bandini

31 Mar

nineteen thirty-three was a bad year
this is what this man with his shoe shine box tells me
as he’s eviscerating me in a game of speed chess in the park
it’s strange (i think)
i’d been reading Fante lately and the year took me by surprise
they amputated part of my leg from diabetes
(he takes my bishop and slams the timer)
when? then? in nineteen thirty-three?
nah (he takes my queen) that just was a bad year
i do some math in my head
this man must be at least eighty-two or so years old
i lived on the Bowery for decades he says
a room was…

maybe a few dollars a week…

big Indian lived across the hall
must’ve been…i don’t know…forties.
he drank rat poison and when they took him out
he had pissed on himself
i guess that’s what happens in the instant before you go sometimes
check!
you owe me a fiver, young man.

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