Wednesday, April 6, 2011


By Robert Villegas, Jr.

He stood there, red-eyed on the street,
among the smoke and dust.
His wrinkles cried within his smile.
He asked me to be just;
to give him just a small compense.
He'd been a man of trust,
but victimized by dog-eat-dog,
betrayed by men of lust.

His blood-eyes searched within my face.
He hoped for fool and friend.
He said that I looked hard as stone.
He asked me to extend
my mind to other peoples' minds,
and then to comprehend
the way that small men feel inside,
then surely I would bend.

The wrinkled rivers in his face
began a flood of tears.
He asked me to have pity now.
He had no sly veneers.
He asked me then to look at him.
His face held many fears.
Then surely I would give to him.
He was a man of years.

I said, "I cannot give to you
the pity you desire.
For men who blame on other men
are men who will require
that pity is their legal right,
because they've lost the fire
that other men still seem to have,
and this I can't admire.

And I can give you no reward,
no matter what you say.
No matter what your life has been,
I never will betray
the standards I require of man:
to seek not to allay
the efforts that assume from life
in parasitic way.

He looked at me, and then he said,
“I've known men just like you.
You're always seeking honesty,
and that is nothing new.
But I have been around awhile,
and I know this is true.
You must cheat all you can, my friend,
for honest men are few."

I looked at him, and then I said,
"And I've heard that before.
You want to justify your ways
by claiming life is war.
But men who think like you, my friend,
are always very poor.
For I am here and you are there.
I need not argue more."

1 comment: