Tuesday, December 18, 2012

When

(for Kirk Reeves)

The guy you'd see around town
playing trumpet on traffic islands
or in front of the second-run movie theater,
always decked out in a white tuxedo
with a Mickey Mouse mask perched on his scalp
has shot himself dead. No more magic tricks,
no more corny jokes, no more puppets
delivering execrable puns, no more
barely recognizable renditions of
When You Wish Upon a Star and When
the Saints Go Marching In.
No more sequined Santa outfit at Christmas.
A local legend, admired for his persistence
if not his talent, he was out there every day,
beaming through his torment until
he couldn't. Borderline homeless, busking
by the side of the road in any weather
but dreaming of the stage, a shot at television.
Fifty-six and constantly at work,
still waititng to collect the payoff. Until then,
the daily take of smiles would have to be enough.
And it was not.

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