the man with the question mark scar

I remember thinking
it’s far, it’s too
damn far upon
seeing him

on Lexington and 59th
across the platform
standing there on an
uptown Q or N or Conscience Express
last stop the West Side self-loathing depot.

it’s too far to reach out
and ask him
about the mark etched on his face,
floating like a specter
underneath his left rheumy eye.

And by God
I thought
he’s done it to himself
he’s the genius for the ages.

And unpleasant rumors began
to circulate about
the man with the question mark scar,
that he lived with 20 inbred cats,
that the bodies of 3 ex-wives
moldered in the attic, seated forever
trapped next to an old Victrola,
that he spent his days poking holes
in a Gideon Bible with a saber
he kept on the wall.

I next saw
the man with the question mark scar
in the lower 80’s on Park Avenue.

He was shouting into
an old Gordon Gekko-type
brick of a cell phone
over and over
THERE’S NOBODY HERE!
CAN’T YOU SEE
THERE’S NOBODY HERE!

and he tossed the phone
into the sidewalk as
a gang of skaters
surrounded him, poking holes
into what seemed
a deadly and jealous personal space.

The man with the question mark scar
proceeded to deliver
a stinging clothesline
to one who got too close
before screaming
I’M NOT HERE!
I NEVER HAVE BEEN!

And it is on that point
that we differ
cuz
he
was
more
here
than
most.

 

 

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