just prose

Look at me now…
I live in a home with a few dogs. I have a family. I have rugs on the floor. I have a kitchen and a fridge with food. The heat works in the wintertime, and in the summer, my air conditioners keep the house cool.
There are pictures on the wall, a few paintings, and some mirrors.
I have a shelf with memories and a drawer filled with different papers; some of which are important, but some are not.

I have a cockeyed fishbowl at the side of my computer.  I keep it filled with candy, or gum. I also have a small American flag at the corner of my desk, which is in the corner of the room, and I face the two windows that look out into my backyard.
This allows me a view of the neighboring homes. This is where I come to watch the birds sit on the telephone wires. I like to look at the trees that poke over the other homes. I like the way the bear branches look in the wintertime during an afternoon sky (like now)

Look at me…
I live, mid-block, on a quiet street in the town where I grew up. The neighbors know who I am, and they wave when they see me. And while some wave more often than others, the fact of the matter is they all wave.

I pay my bills. I pay my taxes. I’m a citizen now…..
My life is quiet. I never stay up late and I wake up early.
I get to work on time and I’ve never used all of my sick days.
I’m almost ordinary…and that’s fine by me.

I get messages sometimes. Most are from old friends, and some are from people I’ve never met.
They say, “I can relate to what you write about.”
They tell me I understand, but I wonder if they understand me.

Sometimes, I will post an old picture of myself on a social website.
I read the comments from people I knew, which say, “That’s the Ben I remember.”
But I wonder if the Ben I was is the same as the Ben they remember.

Recently, I had the chance to speak to a friend from the neighborhood. He was with me for some of the crazy moments. He was a part of my young, longhaired, loud music, friends. We recalled the days and nights in Prospect Park. We remembered the music, and how some of the songs were like anthems to us.

We used to hang out at the dead end on Maitland Street. This was the rear entrance to the park and smoke central for teenage potheads. A local bag lady lived on that dead end, but she was struck and killed by a car.
All that remained of her was her name, which was Mary.
Otherwise known as Crazy Mary, her house was burned in a bad fire, but we being the knucklehead kids we were; we used to hang out in the backyard of her abandoned home.
dead end

Of course, this was not a good thing for the residents at the dead end of Maitland Street. On occasion, residents called the police. On occasion, the police came.
I suppose the loud music, the shouting, and perhaps, the clouds of pot smoke from Mary’s yard was too much.

One summer, the homeowners near the rear entrance to the Park signed a petition to keep us from gathering at the dead end.
I think that might have lasted a week…

I often forget the written word depends on the reader’s perception. And what I might see while writing, no matter how descriptive I try to be, it will always appear differently in the imagination of the reader.

My friend told me, “I read some of your stuff,” and “It’s pretty good.”
It was nice to get feedback from someone that was there with me

And look at him….
He is successful. He lives in a home. He is a loving father.
He has a job and he pays his bills
He pays his taxes, and like me, he’s a citizen now.

His life is quiet, just like mine

I have to thank him for speaking on the phone with me the other day.
It was good to laugh about the nonsense…


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