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Silently he sat in darkness, flinching at the sight of light.
Which created a glow reflecting on his balding head.
His cold glare did not help my nerves,
so I simply stood there observing his silence.
His philosopher beard's tendrils seem to crawl forever,
some hidden behind his buckled knuckle hands.
Wizened victims of one too many a fist fight.
When you looked closer, they exposed branded tattoos,
a timeless reminder from his perturbed past.
He was a man whose ship had never sailed,
maybe too afraid to sink within uncharted waters.
Yet this pilgrim had walked many a path for several decades.
Burning many bridges along the way, until his feet became weary.
To many, he was an 'old dog' that should have been put down
a long time ago - yet he had never requested to live this long.
He didn't seem like a religious man, but he eagerly anticipated death.
An emphatic glance into his lackadaisical drowsy eyes,
revealed hidden sorrows built up through the generations.
Every wrinkle on his sullen face seemed to be an emblem of pain.
He looked tired, worn down by life and defeated by humanity.
A fighter who had fought and fallen many times,
but always returned to the ring. Begging to be punished.
His body had now become slender and emaciated,
it seemed a strong gust could blow it away.
It was evident he enjoyed to pretend, but I knew his game.
Especially when his idle facial impressions struggled with
the sound of bones creaking in sluggish movement.
He started to whistle a tune, it was familiar,
but I couldn't put a name to it.
As he rubbed his eyes, his cheeks crumpled.
A wry smile, crippled by decaying teeth appeared,
as his lethargic lips spoke with a burdened tone.
“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once. Someone once said that boy! But, let me tell you, no matter how many times you toss that coin, it will never land on the same side."
A sardonic expression appeared on his face.
But, I could see he had a story to tell,
but his tongue seemed to refuse to dance
with the desires of his heart.
Silence was still my guide though,
but unsure if it was due to tact or fear.
I wanted to know about the wounds engraved on his heart,
and the agony ingrained in his soul.
Following a deep sigh, he began to speak, but now in a subtle tone.
I can't tell you about smiles,
but I sure can tell you about tears, boy.
They called me a coward, because I didn't go to war,
but I've been a prisoner of war all my life.
And I've had more blood on my hands,
than any 'son of a gun,' solider, boy.
Its always been me against the world,
to save myself I lived a life of manipulation,
but I never meant to hurt a soul,
unless they deserved it and too many did.
After a slight pause, his tone sounded more intense.
"I was born on a night when the heavens cried.
I've asked GOD, why did the angels hide when I arrived.
Instead he sent the grim reaper to take my mother.
I didn't even have a chance to feel her skin.
I've never been able to call anyone mother."
He was now staring at me, I could see the rage in his eyes,
so intimidating, I turned my head towards the floor.
His tone now fierce, I could feel his wrath.
"Life is full of second hand emotions, broken dreams,
forgotten promises and bleeding hearts!! Regretful memories,
of haunting ghosts, whose spirit voices torment my mind!!
And you want to hear something nostalgic, boy?
Try being beaten every day, for just existing!!
Try being seen as the cause of death!!
And then they wonder why..."
He wipes away intrinsic tears,
trembling, he lights up a cigarette.
"we done here boy"
and then the silence returned...
Walking away in somewhat of a daze,
instinctively I remembered the song;
Old man look at me now....
Love lost, such a cost,
Give me things
that don't get lost.
Like a coin that won't get tossed
Rolling home to you.
1 November 2017
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