Friday, April 16, 2010

red spot t-shirt
© 08/06
"Haight and Fillmore. Pick up."
"8-7, check."
I was driving up Haight with just a twenty to my night;
It wasn’t late but my hand was pretty tight.
Suddenly a fresh-faced blond kid, maybe twenty-some,
held up a shaky arm and signaled me to come.
He stood too long in one place for me to tell.
(There is a ritual for catchin’ cabs, y’all.)
Suddenly he reeled back into the pole,
Leaned there uncertain, not like he would chill.
He wore a pair of jeans, the uni of the night,
and a white t-shirt that looked a bit too the flourescent blue-white light.
I raised my hands to him, in the universal, Well, what?
When at that moment he sat. He fell phump!
and slid down his back against the pole.
His grrrl friend screamed at me, "Please don’t go!"
She tossed her head up, down, to and fro,
Jumpin’ at my door and jerkin’ towards her beau.
While his face turned into some angelic kinda glow,
Her screams rose as if I was something slow,
but I’d pulled over, opened up the door, all set to go.
It was he who wasn’t movin’, seemed somewhat outa flow.
When she tried to lift ‘im I could see the whole
Of a tiny spot of red to the left of center
Below the patch where ciggies go.
It started out real small like that and then began to grow.
His head fell over, the wet spot spread and white went red.
I hit the mike and screamed, "I think he’s dead!"
"I mean," I said. "Mayday! This kid gone red!"
"Corner of Haight and Steiner, send the man!"
"The kid’s been shot! He barely understands."
"Don’t worry ‘bout findin’ us. Here they come!"
Two gangs, I spose, incitin’ fightin’ without bendin’.
Ran by cross the street and veered toward downtown’s ending.
We’ll need an ambulance, two shots a ‘drenalin,
This could be the bitter pill.
He’s twenty-some, looks real ill.
  Grrrlie’s screaming at me.
Her boy can’t talk.
I said, "Just hold his hand. Tell ‘im how you feel.
If he can’t hear you, I think it’s time to kneel.
They’ll be here ‘fore we could lift him up."
She turned to him–and stared–her mouth all stuck
Big red spot from clavicle to down to where he opened
She dreamed of one more chance...with any luck.
But that dream faded as the EMTs arrived.
Seconds later cops strolled ‘round to find that he was not alive.
The big red spot now filled his shirt.
His Grrrl all covered with his dryin’ stain.
Sobbin’. Lookin’ up at me like she’d been hurt.
I nodded her way. Through all her pain.
I tried to say...something any...
Way. Then the bulls walked in between. Asked, who are you?
I called it in. I called for you. So don’t play me to diss. I’m the ride he missed.
There came a squawk from my machine:
"1-8-7! You OK?"
"Yeah...," I heard me say, as I reached back to close the door. "Haight and Steiner, no ride here. 1-8-7. Free and clear."

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