So A Man

by Ian Barker

So a man walk up to me an ‘im say
That do fearing that he die today
And never had done a good ting in his life
He will give me all the money him has
In his wallet
And it would be a blessing to him
For me to take it
And for me to eat well with it
Or to drink a hot coffee on dis a cold day.
Then he look at me with a serious look
On him face and him say
that I not to use it to buy drugs
Or to buy drink to get me drunk
For a shame meself and by that
Shame him too.
And he tell me that he have done
Nothing good deed in his life
And he has family that he never
Has spoken to in a long time
And that when they did last talk
It was all hot words with them high talk
To each other and it spin out of control
Until now none of dem talk and none of dem remember the subject
But nothing else but the high talk for more
Than five years with no slips.
Water pass under the bridge
Plus he no longer has a name for
Where they all live or even if they live.
And he say to me this happen over nothing
But stupidity and big pride of himself and one another
Of his others.
And then he looks at me all sad and says
For his god to bless me and he hope I keep warm.
I say to im I never have the want of drugs and I don’t
Do getting drunk because I sit here and wait
All my time
For enough to eat and nothing more.
So then he makes this kind of unhappy face and says
Sure he believes me and just goes off
Like a smell chase him away quick.
And I look and he has put to me $10
In my hand
Which I think is a poor likkle amount to carry out
If you think you are thinking you might die
Without a good deed to your name
When the time is up.

2 thoughts on “So A Man

  1. It’s a modern parable..I guess. I wrote it in a form of lyrical patois partly because I wanted readers to feel like they might not be the ‘voice’ of the poem (which is a prejudice on their part, if it happens like that, and on mine if it doesn’t) – but I also chose that style because I love the sound of our shared language and the many treatments it gets by culture and upbringing.

    The poem is meant to say “if you are charitable, then it should be without conditions”. Charity with conditions on its use or application is a form of abuse, even with the best of intentions.

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