“401K”

“I need to get going,” he said.
“I have to talk with my bank
about what to do
with my 401K.”

“Oh,” I said, “why not
just give it away
to me?”

“Well then what will I do
when I am old,” he asked.

“Die,” I said.
“You will die when you are old.”

Vincent chuckled, asking me
what my great plan was.

“I plan to die,” I said.
“When I’m old, I’m going to die.
That’s my plan. I will die
if I’m not dead already.”

“Not a bad plan,” he said.
“That way you don’t have to worry
about what to do
with no 401K.”

“Exactly,” I said.
“I feel sorry for the people
who suspect or expect long life.
People die every day of all ages
under all sorts of wonderful
and miserable circumstance.
When I think about the miscarriage,
the dead soldiers, or the terminally ill,
all under cold gray blankets;
I feel like I’ve done pretty well
just managing to thirty
with all ten toes and fingers
still tapping away at the alphabet.”

Vincent nodded his head and then
we both crossed the street
in opposite directions.
Vincent looked both ways,
starring down stopped
cars all around him.
I didn’t bother looking.
The street I crossed
had been blocked
by construction.
They were laying down
a fresh coat of blacktop
over the old red brick street
at 1st and Washington.

It was a sunny day in Seattle
and the workers
banging on pipes
seemed content.
So too, was the shoe shine man, smiling up at me.
Sometimes, the hopeless and the damned
have more of it
than the wealthy worriers of the world.

I don’t need no 401K.
I’ll just die someday and maybe
it will even be sunny when I do.
That will be an ALL RIGHT way.

narrative poem written on 06-18-2011 by: on mattkane.com
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