Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Those People are Dead Now

You walk the neighborhood.
You look at houses.
You look at street corners.
You look down alleys.
You look behind stores.
There are a some people that you will not see.
Those people are dead now.

Sammy use to live in that house over there.
They had a real small swimming pool.
Heart attack.

The Rabbi and his wife lived in that corner house.
The neat little white one.
They always took long walks.
She was run over and was DOA.
He remarried and later died.

Greg lived in that yellow house.
The one that needs a new roof.
Came home from Vietnam in a coffin.

In the alley behind that restaurant,
some drug dealer from New Orleans,
was killed by a local competitor.

Three blocks east there is a tall skinny house.
Two guys were shot dead.
AK-47 and a Glock 9.
Somebody owed somebody.
The debt was paid.

Louie lived in a house where that park is now.
He was a bully when he was young.
But he turned out OK.
Died of a heart attack down in Texas.

Up that street is a Baptist church.
Use to be a synagogue.
Last winter a school bus stopped.
Let the kids out.
One kid slid on some ice.
Fell under the bus.
He was crushed.
The driver did not see him.
My wife heard the death cry.

Thomas was the youngest of five.
He was waiting to get on disability.
Died at home in his bed.
Got approved for disability the next week.

Ripp was driving too fast.
His car flipped over.

Same with Mike.

Ron had polio when he was a kid.
Was in an iron lung for awhile.
Heart attack got him.

Rick went to a party when he was 16.
Never came home.
Died at 44.
Paper said heart attack in Denver.
We all know he OD'd.
Loved that needle.

Aids got them.

I know I am forgetting someone.
I am sorry.
But that is not my job.
I am not an obit writer.
You will have to fill in the details yourself.

Look, I'm not obsessed with the dead.
I just wanted you to know about
those that you cannot see.
And what happened to them.
You are reading this.
You are not one of them.
Go do the stuff that the dead can't.
That is your job.
Pray for the dead.
But do your job.

Those people are dead now.
You won't see them in the neighborhood.
Not in the houses.
Not on the street corners.
Not down the alleys.
Not behind the stores.
Those people are dead now.


Anonymous Kate Garber said...

I really liked this poem, but it's so sad!

10:36 AM, January 19, 2007  
Blogger Fred Garber said...


8:09 PM, February 07, 2007  

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