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a second fortune : a poem

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i could hear his motor 2 minutes before
his bright orange McLaren turned into the 7-11
he pulled to the pumps
i munched on my orange chicken takeout
and watched
he drove off again
avoiding the closer exit due to the dip
i heard his motor again
noting the deep rich timbre of the race car
but this guy was no driver
a few minutes later the motor was heard again
he must’ve forgotten his facemask
damn
of course i assumed
dudes in bright sports cars didn’t pump their own gas
or washed their own cars
perhaps his people were busy
or perhaps he was the “do it yourself” kind of man
either way
i chuckled a bit at his loud car
and his skinny stone-washed jeans
as he put on his paper mask and entered the store
what was my angle?
what had my bee a’buzz?
what second fortune was i hoping for
when my fortune cookie offered
“you will have great new adventures”
um, yeah, great
but this guy and his loud obnoxious car
and the beautiful day
and my homelessness
borrowed and beaten green Ford f-150 xlt
what did i have to be angry about
what part of this fortune was i unhappy about?
his hot car, his mask misfortune, his jeans
what did it all that have to do with me?
again
on this beautiful day
i’m eating takeout
in a familiar haunt
a neighborhood where i lived
before things went to hell
again
and though it is a peaceful and breezy afternoon
and i’m leisurely sitting and eating delicious
msg-enhanced chicken
what could be wrong?
what chip is stuck on my shoulder
that it requests access to my throat
my voice
my love poems be damned
i’m stewing
things didn’t work out for me
last time i was in this spot
things
fell
to
pieces
and it was only partially my fault
and partially the tilt of the planet at that moment
the frustration and guilt of my ex-wife
and some financial hardships that were hitting a lot of people
as i tried to weather the storm
of the divorce
the kid-time reduced to a couple weekends a month
the monthly payment crippling my ability
to do much more than survive
and still
this is not where i was going
this is not the lunch patter i intended to have with myself
as i rested in the sun
for a beat
but here i am
there he went
and there went the tender years of my children
yanked out from under me
for some selfish and legally empowered reason
and as i struggled here
six or seven years ago
in this very place
on a day like today
she gladly sent my deadbeat soul
to the collections agency of the state of texas

hallelujah

and that was it for me
the end of my independence
my attempt at a restarted life
and what was it to her?
did she need the money?
did she think i was going to flee my obligation?
what was it for
this vengeful blow
that took my house
my credit
my credibility
and my children’s other home
how was this a good thing
how was this in the best interest of anyone
but her
so
this guy
and his
expensive car
and his happy afternoon taking the hotrod out for gas
catches my ire
warps a poetic moment
into something darker
more
reflective
and morose
sure, i’m not mad at him
i’m not mad at my kids who don’t return texts
i’m not even mad at my ex
who did her best to run me off into a ditch
except, then she would not get the money
so, just short of a coup d grace
she offered her condolences
“sorry about the timing”
on the day she offered my heart up for a sacrifice
to the attorney general’s office
and the enforcement division
who is called in when needed
or
in this case
when an angry ex-wife
decides to hurt their co-parent
hurt. their. co-parent.
but she didn’t ever intend to kill me
she never wanted to co-parent
she wanted it all
and then she wanted even more
to punish me
to hurt me
to crush my tiny house
and the house her kids stayed in
every other weekend

so
rock on orange McClaren dude
rock on bitter ex
rock on children of the corn
as we all grow older
perhaps there will be a reconciliation a pause a moment of respect
for the man
who did not die
who did not give up
and still writes love poems
as the muse allows
and when the dudes with everything
don’t upset his moment of zen

3/2/21

an orange McClaren

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