Friday, February 6, 2009

For the Man in the Red Jacket (Poem)

Last June I had a run in with this dude in a red jacket when I was running. It wasn't anything tragic; just more comical, I think, than anything, but the question he threw at me as I ran past him had me thinking for days, so much so that I tried to capture the moment in a poem.

What follows is the scene's most recent iteration. I'm fairly pleased with it, though I'm still unsure about the ending. Some feedback in that regard would be helpful.

Fire away.

* * * *

For the Man in the Red Jacket

...the waters are come in...
--Psalm 69:1

His word, more than his face, remains,
trailing me as the rain that stuck
to my glasses and soaked my clothes,

seeping through
my windows, my fa├žade into
the crawlspace of my memory.

I see now he was serious: as we’d
passed on the street, each moving
the other way, he’d pulled off

his red jacket hood and tried
to make eye contact. Have you
necessarily taken the time,

he’d asked, to find out
what grace is for?
to break the rhythm of my run,

I’d turned just enough to see him
in my periphery, standing alone
on the corner as the rain started,

and said nothing. If he’d asked for money
or the time, I might have slowed, at least
to tell him I didn’t have any or

It’s six twenty-two. But grace, I
remember thinking. Get serious, brother,
and out of the rain. It’s early. I’m

running. We’re about to be wet
and our garments as heavy as Genesis.
Of course I’ve made time for grace.