“WEED MAN”

He would sit in the weeds,
cross legged,
at Mercer and Fairview,
down the street
from where I lived.
He smoked weed too,
though not the same
he sat in.
He'd sit there and laugh
as I passed,
swinging my grocery bags.
And he'd sit there and laugh
as all the cars decided
north or south on the 5.
Weed Man's skin was like
an old couch that only he
had ever sat in.

I pull up Street View and see
there are no more weeds
where Weed Man sat.
And everywhere,
there are new buildings.
And the old row houses
of South Lake Union
are long demolished;
fenced in front lawn memorials
to progress.
I remember them, though.
I remember how things were
before everything changed.
I remember the rosemary bush.
And the smokestack.
And the beautiful red moss
on the brick window sills
of the old laundry
when the sun struck it
just so;
they might've saved the facade
when they built what they built,
but they didn't save
that.
I remember the joy
of free street parking, too,
though I never drove, then.

The friends I had,
the love I had,
the life I led,
and all I said
I'd do
but never got to.
I remember it all.
I remember this place
as our place
when it was our time.
Everything has changed.
Where has Weed Man gone?
And who does he laugh at,
now,
as they walk by
foolishly believing
this life they're living
will go on this way forever?
Who does he laugh at,
now?
The Weed Man I remember
is gone, though
he knew it all along.
And that's why he sat
and laughed
as he was baked
by an impermanent sun.
And that's why
I remember him this night,
after forgetting
so many more.

narrative poem written on 04-26-2016 by: on mattkane.com
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