He lives across the street from his grandson. Yet, I’m the guy who picks the boy up and takes him to school. I take him to 

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How Could I Forget

In another life it was a massage table. It was over seven feet long, made to fold in half so it could fit into a cloth case and be carried by the suitcase handle attached to one end of the frame.

Granny found it at a thrift store and thought it the perfect bed for Joey. She called me and asked if I would pick it up and deliver it to him. 

I was glad my brother and I switched cars because his is some kind of Mercury SUV and, even with my drummer’s entire kit in the vehicle, the suitcase table along with the four bags of blankets, sheets, socks, underwear, pants and shirts Granny decided, at the last moment, to also send along for Joey fit comfortably in that car. 

Joey loved the idea of a massage table being a bed. He said, “This is great. I can sleep on it at night and then, during the day, I can put it out under that tree over there with a sign sayin, ‘Massages 5 bucks,’ and I can make enough money to get that computer I want.”

He grabbed the sleeper suitcase and took it to his room. I hauled the other stuff for him from car to living room. 

Just as I dropped the last bag onto the floor, I heard a thud then Joey shout, “Uh, oh, I broke it.”

I walked into his room and the table was flat on the floor. I picked it up and its wooden legs were under it. Joey said, “I guess I sat on it too hard.”

I put the table back on the floor. I said, “Maybe I can fix it tomorrow.”

“It’s okay,” Joey said as he stretched on the cushioned frame. “I can sleep on it like this. It will be fine. Besides, tomorrow we have to get school books and supplies. Remember?”

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Building Character

Joey has been playing for a traveling basketball team all summer. He’s been making progress. Coach has been farming him out to “nationally ranked teams” and, once, he brought back a trophy that came up to his chin.

Joey is 6 feet 2 inches tall.

He’s 12 years old, almost 13.

His mother has her mind on his potential future earnings.

Already, she is mismanaging his career. Looking for dirt on his current coach and being swayed by another who promises air fare, swank hotels, inside track on the best colleges, on a lucrative pro career.

Already, she, being swayed, is swaying Joey to sway her way.
He says, “This coach has the third ranked team in the country. But, he creeps me out when he calls her, ‘Mama.'”

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I’m Gettin’ There

It’s nice to have a room again. 

A room that stays relatively comfortable during unbearably hot days. 

A room I can walk into middle of the day and stretch out on the bed. 

Two electric fans: one from the ceiling and another standing alone by the television are all I need to keep me cool and dry enough to nap…

For almost an hour.

Couldn’t do that the 7 months I was homeless.

Couldn’t do that a year and a half ago when I was renting a hot box room from Chester of the Golden Mask. 

15 electric fans, a window unit and 7 blocks of ice wouldn’t have cooled that furnace.

This afternoon, I woke and stretched and marveled at my progress.

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Good Thing I Don’t Believe In Freud

It’s raining hard this morning. Supposed to be this way all day.

Just as well.

Texted my friend last night. Wrote, “My brother’s such a chickenshit.” Then I sent it…to my brother.

It was an accident.

I walked from the bath to his room and said, “Sean, about that text.”

He hadn’t read it. So, I told him what it said. And he said, “Why didn’t you just tell me to my face?”

And I said,”Chickenshit, I guess.”

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Besides, He’s No Crazy Chester

I moved in with my brother. 

I was officially homeless seven months. 

I’m not counting the two months I basically lived in my car and paid Chester rent coz my stuff was still in my room at the house he was leasing.

Chester was crazy. 

At least, I think he was crazy. 

But, that part about “state probation takes your soul from your body” and requires the probationee to “wear a gold mask and engage in spiritual warfare on the 4th of July” and petition “Pope Francis every three months to have the mask removed and be released from all legal restrictions” and “allow the soul to be returned to the body.”

That might be true.

Anyway, it all became too much for me when Chester took the $400 I gave him for lodging/utilities, spent it all on a weekend drunk and told the landlord I wasn’t paying my share of the rent. 

That’s when I officially moved out. Chester maintained I owed him more money but I refused to pay him despite his threat to have “evil spread through” my “brain and blood.”

“Not another penny,” I told him.

Being homeless wasn’t so bad. I had a friend who let me sleep in his office most nights. 

When his place was not available, I’d pull into Walmart parking lot and have a nice snooze.

I took my brother up on his invitation to move into his house when it looked like he’d be between jobs. 

I told him I could contribute some cash to help him through a rough time. 

He said,”Not necessary.” 

But, it was necessary for me coz my brother and I have had some tremendous arguments throughout the years, bordering on extreme violence. 

I did not want my desire to live under a roof to comprimise my freedom. I had to find a way to maintain a healthy distance from this man I call brother.

Being his tennant provides the space I need to live in his house and, at the same time, have my own life.

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And I Want To Live

I haven’t been writing much. 

Oh, I’ve been composing songs. 

Telling a Facebook story or two. 

Nothing more.

Lately, I haven’t felt like singing. I do it because it’s my job but there is no shower shoutin, no head bangin vocal response to a radio rock anthem, no lullabies and goodnight Irene’s.

I’ve turned a switch and my music is no longer broadcast during day to day activity.  

I’ve had no interest in sharing a personal lyric, an original tune these past few months. 

Thinking I needed to rest my voice, I’ve remained silent…

and unhappy…

depressed…

bitter.

No way to live.

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