Uhm, excuse me, excuse me Miss…can you spare a dollar or some change?
Hey, how about you Mister…can you spare anythang?
Hey, hey you Miss Lady, hold on now - listen, my name is Maxwell Greene
And, uh…just like you in yo pretty bidness suit, I once had me a dream.
I was gonna be a big bidness man, selling handmade furniture, right here in this city
And look at me today on this bench, at 57, nothing more than a big pity.
Ya know, with the life I’ve lived, I be thinking back over my life some days
And for the life of me, young lady – I just don’t know where I went wrong for me to end up out here, this way.
See, my Uncle Joe was a carpenter, like Jesus, and when I was young he showed me how to build tables, and chairs with wood like this bench
But somehow I never got on the right foot to get my bidness started once I grew up and somehow lost all my good sense.
I know you don’t think much of me now, ‘cuz my teef all gone and my hair’s grown out and I needs me a good shave
But I tells you the truth Miss Lady, although you may not believe it, I used to look damn good back in the days
Shiiiitt, back in the 70’s, I used to hang out over across the way on 54th and Lincoln
Having my pick of the ladies, in my white Caddy, dressed to impress, smoking reefer and drinking
Back then, I was known as “Big Money” Greene around that way
I was a Hustler’s hustler running numbers, pushing ladies and caine, bringing in big cash every day
Hell, I was the man, ya know…uhm, a Baller, as you young people say
Yeah, l lived on the top of the street chain until that one day when my main man Roy introduced me to Smack
That bitch took me on a ride to Heaven, then Hell, then to outer space and back.
I lost everythang, including my Mama’s love and hope
My main broad Sheila told me to choose one day, and you know what, like a fool I chose the dope.
I was mighty low after that, going in and out of jail for stealing some of this and some of that
I binged out and almost died twice before getting that goddamn monkey off my back.
Around the mid 80’s, I got married and tried to do the right thing by my wife Geraldine She was about 6-months pregnant at that time with my youngest daughter Maxine
So for the first time, I got me a good job working as a UPS man
Delivering all types of boxes and letters in one of them big brown vans.
But I didn’t keep that job long see, ‘cuz of my side lady at the time, Sweet Pat
She and I used to get high on crack, from time to time, - it was casual, so I didn’t see nothing wrong with that.
Until one day, I went to her on my lunch break, ya know, just to take a little toke
Yeah, me and my Patty had a good ole time drinking and loving in a hotel room full of smoke
Ha, ha, yessuh - before long, it was after 4PM and I still had deliveries to make
So I rushed out the room and into the streets, speeding ‘cuz I was hella late.
And before I knowed it, out came this kid on a bike riding kinda slow
And I was high as a kite with semi-blurred sight and didn’t exactly see him, ya know.
I still don’t remember much about it, but I knew I wasn’t high after I saw that bike under my van all bent
And I had to pay for that child’s life with my own and haven’t been the same ever since
I did 20 years, hard time, in State prison, and I’ve been out 1 year to the day
And here I am sitting on this bench still wondering where I went wrong to end up out here, this way.
Tara S. Gause aka Poetic Goddess Tara Shenéa
© 2007. All Rights Reserved.
© 2007. All Rights Reserved.