Neighborhood Man

(part 11 of 'The Cape')

Fulton Street was a mixture of stores, mostly Italian for the length that I considered my neighborhood. The aromas went from heavenly to slightly abusive. If you caught the eye of any merchant you were sure to get a wave and a smile. Most of them knew you by name, which made the walk kind of happy. Except for Mr. Brennen who seemed to think my friends and I all had the same name, “punk.” He was well loved by especially when an errant Spalding would be hit into his store during a punch ball game. His favorite was of returning it would be in sliced up pieces. Yes well loved by all.

The corner candy store was filled with treats, egg creams, one scoop plates of ice cream with syrup, vanilla cokes for five cents; a momentary visit to what must be what heaven is like. Except this place was filled with local wannabes, and the neighborhood bookies. And out in front always stood Frankie who wasn’t quite one of them. He looked like them, talked like them, and dressed like them. I always felt kind of sad for him. Secretly I feared that I might be standing there some day. I moved on. Sadly for Frankie, he didn’t.

Passing face aging much faster than his time trapped image reveals
Roll collar shirt, wide tie, wing tip shoes all display how he feels
His thoughts in slow motion so his words won’t go too fast
The past his present, with his image built to last

Still standing in the spot like a statue, to where the future rushed by
Proud warrior. He hides his broken heart’s urge to cry
Mind wanders back to so many warning words spoken
Standing still, proud, ignoring what it feels to be broken
Every day blends with the next, same ritual, same plan
No pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, for the neighborhood man

– niz

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