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Sep 2018
My friend and I talk about it
Neighborhood got decimated this year
One after another the corners of community are gone
We touch the elder memories
as one might touch a head in blessing
as loved ones pass

We linger longest over John

Found dead after ten hot days
by other-worldly hazmat crew
flanked by cruisers
with their special, yellow truck
and zipper bags

...found 'im
glasses folded neatly on the night stand
in his jammies
all tucked into bed

No one thought it strange
that strange young guy would die
already decomposing in his head
Lost
among his personal effects
his fleet of rusting cars
and half-assed projects
Deck tacked to garage
his herds of “pets”

Easy to pretend he wasn't really there
between jail stints or some imagined threat or theft
of crap
haunted by the shadows of his persecutors
caught in motion lights
and cameras' blinding evidence of
jungle-jumble and malfunctioning car alarms
going off in the wind
Everyone's out to get his stuff
We could dismiss him--

mostly
sorta

...except for times
he mowed his grass at night
or hand-built “the lunatic tower”
just for mom
from scavenged scraps and
hammered hours
power-sawed
through the housing codes
and horror of the neighbors...
...Such a special spectacle...

******* crazy-- John!

He was enough for one day at a time
like when

he flung that threatening bolder
on his bilco doors
for percussive effect

Get off my ******' property!”
(not using his “inside voice”)
“Next time, that'll be your head!!

He announces his intent
to not get mad, behave himself
to call the cops on me instead
Fake-dialing
While his mother screams in dread
“John is off his meds!”

My phone is set to speed dial
911
__

“How did we miss this?
How did we not miss him those quiet days?”

How we miss him now
How quiet
Every neighborhood has one,  and I do miss him.  John provided endless daily entertainment and angst.  Sometimes he was a truly friendly neighbor; sometimes, truly scary.  We had many long conversations.  My beloved cat, Bailey adored him.  I took that as a good sign.  John cried when Bailey was found dead.  I have entrusted them to each other's care in heaven.

Jesus, forgive John his failures and his torments.  I take his place dutifully as the local crazy.  :)
Written by
L B
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       Fix, Lora Lee, Ashley Chapman, Santita, Fawn and 4 others
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