I wanted to tell him everything will be okay
This poem will be brief but don’t let it fool you; recalling his face again sucks all the air out of my heart.
I had just moved into my own apartment and I had been giddy all day long. I skipped from my car up to my door and into my pants. My mouth ran through the afternoon and continued as I drove West on Sunset, which is such a beautiful drive when the sun is setting in the months before summer. I pulled up to a red light across from an In-N-Out and turned my head in the direction of a man sitting alone on a bus bench. He wore a Los Angeles Dodgers t-shirt, had a bad haircut and a crude set of teeth. He looked poor but not homeless. I kept my attention on him as I watched him suck his lip into his mouth again and again. A small stream of tears ran from each eye as he sniffled and looked nervously in each direction. The light stayed red so I continued to focus in on this bubble of despair. He continued to cry, and it was not the type of crying we do in times of reflection, it was the type we do when we have just witnessed our lifes work roll off the edge of the Grand Canyon. He looked like he had been stepped on yet again like the butt of a foreign cigarette. The light eventually turned and I drove off and although it’s been over a day now, here I am, alone and tipsy in my beautiful apartment and all I can think about is the anguish in the corners of that man’s eyes. Life has taught me not to dwell on misfortune because it is contagious, but shit… that image isn’t going anywhere soon.
Clausen was not a heartless killer. He was soft, gentle, well-spoken promoter of truth. In a world of rubber goods and instant gratification he was misunderstood. He would only write on a yellow legal pad with a blue ballpoint pen, and he only listened to instrumental jazz. He drank single malt scotch with ice cubes and water and always sipped with patience and class. Clausen was everything I wanted to be on Thursday night.
After she broke up with him we spent an entire week sitting poolside, drinking lemonade and staring at the bronze legs of women too vain to even acknowledge our sleazy gazes. He was miserable and I was there for him. We would start drinking wine around eight and salute each other goodnight around one, sometimes two if I felt masochistic. I miss him and the way he would react to a good Cab. I think of him every time I see a fantastic set of stems; attached to the torso of a dark-haired woman or on the inside of a wine glass.