Thomas Geffen


We have these conversations

You and I

Their brevity bequeaths an indelible remnant


“Next time” we say

and next time again the same


We have our parts:

-Late worker; laid-off worker

-Poor student; poorer child

-Baby on board; baby on ARVs


I hide behind my glass

You hide behind your cardboard


The gravity of these two worlds passing

Sometimes shakes a coin loose

Sometimes shakes a hand

Usually shakes a head


I wonder what indulgence keeps a man on the street

You wonder what salary keeps a man in a car



It starts with supplication

In penitence we confess

On your knees you beg mercy

In my leather pew I bow my head


Into your outstretched hands

I place a copper wafer

To my parched lips the chalice

Drink the guilt of giving


“God bless” we say

until next time blessings the same


I took you in my car to dinner, once

Perhaps to integrate these two worlds

Perhaps to show-off my world


Those were the days

We used to chat more

Weather, sport, politics

Small talk & big smiles


I opened my window to let guilt out

You opened your hands to let hope in


In that red-robot fist-pound

We asked:

Could you be me?

Could I be you?


In that green-robot thumbs-up

We wondered:

Would I be another of the same?

Would you be another of the same?


And so we answered:

I bought you two pies, for you and a co-worker

You ate them both

The co-worker went hungry


So if you could be me and I could be you

You’d be just like me, and I just like you

Two pies to eat and apologies to give


So we are the same

Another of the same

Our shoes are different

But we wouldn’t trade them away