By Tony Robles

Nelson was this big
Irish kid that lived
Up the street from
My grandma

He used to hang out
With this black kid
Named “D” who lived
Near him

Nelson’s hair was brown
And unkempt which
Made it all the more

He wore Ben Davis pants
And sometimes he’d walk
Down the street shirtless in
The sun, skin peeling from
His back

He walked with this
Swagger that said
The street was his
(And D’s until D moved)

Nelson hit high school
And got big and strong
And if you gave him a
Spotted robe you’d mistake
Him for Tarzan

Once I ran into him
On the bus and he told
Me of a drink he had
At a bar

It was a Zombie he
Said, made with
10 different liquors

He smiled and the skin
Peeled from his freckled
Nose and from his teeth

He pulled the
Cord and got
Off the bus

I watched him

He was something to see

We got out of
High school and most
Of us went to college
(Community College)

I got out of college,
Went here and there
And never saw Nelson

But the other day
This guy got on
The bus

He moved slowly
To the rear
And sat

He started talking
In a raspy voice
To no one in particular

I’m Irish, Swedish
On my Mother’s
Side he said

I looked at his eyes
And his puffy face and
The gray that played
On his temples

It was Nelson, a
45 year old man
looking about 60

He nodded to a few
Passengers getting
On, saying God bless or
Just hello

He pulled the
Cord, walked past
Me and got off
The bus

I watched him
Walk down the street
Like he owned it

It was something to see

© 2010 Tony Robles


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