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Fatherless Men

Posted on Saturday, February 14, 2009 in Verse

I saw Jimmy Zane in line at Mort’s Deli today
He was with some unnatractive girl with black hair and pudgy legs
Jimmy Zane, who I knew when I was about eight
Now we’re both in our 40’s, Jimmy Zane and me

You didn’t recognize me, didja Jimmy?
You passed me by and I turned my head so you wouldn’t see me
Cause I had nothing much to say to you
Cept maybe, “Hey  you look just like your old man, Jimmy.”

Yeah, old Irving. Really man, you look just like him.
Old Irving. What a guy.
Seems like he’d always been around, you know?
Singing in that basso profundo voice of his
And making those terrible jokes
Or pulling my jowels and going
Shtewy, Shtewey, Shtewey!

I don’t know, I hate that,
But somehow it was OK with Irving
Guess I loved that man
Yeah, that’s the only explanation I know

We put him in the ground last month, didn’t we Jimmy?
Your pop, Irving, we finally buried him
I always knew it would happen,
Always wondred what it would be like
It was just like I always pictured it

We carried the casket to the graveside
Picked it up as the guy with the dead eyes
Said, “Lift together now gentlemen…that’s right”
We lugged it (man, he was heavy, your pop)
Over to the graveside
And then the guy said we could let it go
We let it go

I watched as the men lowered it into the ground
I didn’t feel much Jimmy, to tell you the truth
I wanted to feel more
But I guess I’d rehearsed it
too many times in my mind

I looked around
It was a perfect summers day
A nice day really
I looked at people. They were crying
But they would go back to their lives
They would talk about it
And soon they would forget

Then we took turns shoveling dirt into the grave
Your mom, my mom, me…
I shoveled an extra shovelfull for some reason
“Bye Irv,” I said to myself
“So long now, pal”

I looked at you Jimmy
You with your sad little stubble of beard
And your sad little handbag
And your sad little suit that didn’t quite fit
I looked at you and I looked at me
I didn’t quite fit either
Never have
And I thought to myself
Well, we’re men now aren’t we Jimmy?
We used to be boys
The barefoot kids they called us,
Remember?

But now we’re two men in our forties
Out in the world
Two men in the world without fathers
I always knew it’d be like this I guess

And so here we sit at Mort’s Deli
I turned away a little as you walked past
Cause I didn’t really want to talk to you
Didn’t have anything to say

Anyhow you were engrossed in talking with your girlfriend
Talk talk talk talk talk
Talk of this and talk of that
Talk of how you’ve been helping your mom,
Driving her places
Talk of your plans for the future
Talk of things to be and things that were
Talk of anything to avoid feeling the weight of death

But it’s OK Jimmy
Yeah, it’s OK
Feels kinda funny though
Can’t seem t’get used to it

I dunno about you
But me, I don’t feel that much different
Than when I was the barefoot boy
How bout you Jimmy?

But I guess I won’t ever know
Anyhow, I gotta go now
Kinda get up and ease on out of here
Out out out
Out into the stuff

Gotta keep moving
Dunno why really
Sometimes I just wanna stop
Cause I’m so damn tired of it all
But you just can’t, can you?
Nope. It’s not kosher
Is it?

I saw Jimmy Zane in line today
Saw him in line at Mort’s Deli
in Pacific Palisades California

I saw Jimmy Zane.

(c) Stuart Goldman

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