Dogs 2012

HALF NAKED HANK
(7/23/12)


it
was still
103 degrees
at 6pm
so my wife
deferred
on our
nightly
walk

I
decided
to take
a different
route
as a solo
pedestrian
and headed east
to a walking/jogging
track
surrounding
a drainage
project
about a mile
away

after
eleven hours
in an air conditioned
office cell
the heat
actually
felt refreshing

I was amazed
at the lack
of traffic
and even more
surprised
to find
the graveled path
of my destination
to be deserted

it seemed
as if
the city
was at my
solitary
disposal

near
the end
of my first lap
of the half
mile track
I noticed
a car
parking diametrically
opposed
to my current
position

a tall
older man
(even older
than me)
got out
of the vehicle
and seemed
to survey
the situation

I returned
my gaze
ahead
thinking
that at least
I would finish
my three circuits
before overtaking
the old guy

it was
too hot
for pleasantries
or even
acknowledgments

toward
the end
of my second lap
I had gained
a quarter stretch
and now had
the only other
occupant
in my sights
straight
ahead

I double
took
a look
because
what had initially
seemed
a fully clothed
human
had now taken
the appearance
of a beachgoer
wearing only
tight
white
gym shorts
and white
tennis shoes

had he
undressed
while I wasn't
watching?

very strange

the old
fucker
was well tanned
hinting
that this
was a standard
configuration
for him

he had
fairly long
wavy white hair
that may have reached
his shoulders
if laying
vertically

I was closing
at a fairly
good rate
when I noticed
a familiarity
about him
as he turned
the next bend

holy shit

he looked
just like
a picture
I remember seeing
of Charles
Bukowski

sure

it was
on the cover
of the Hostage
compact disc
that I had
at the house

hair whiter
but same
profile

same gut

far less
clothing

if I wasn't
quite sure
that he had
been dead
for over 18 years
I would have
overtaken him
to be sure
that he hadn't
gotten stuck
in Oklahoma
on some cross country
adventure
to New Orleans
Philadelphia
or Florida

we passed
by his car
which I noticed
was not
a black Beemer
although I wondered
if he were still
alive
if he would
continue to drive
the same model

the other
disturbing element
of my approach
was that his
tight gym shorts
began to take on
the appearance
of loose
jockey shorts
instead of acceptable
outdoor attire

he looked
far less
an old dude
trying to attain
some comfort
in the temperature
than a public
exposure
case

I was within
20 yards of him
on the next bend
when deciding
that my best
discretion
would be
an about face
to retrace
the last
quarter mile
instead of completing
what would be
a too close
encounter
to the underwear
poet

as I
returned
to the street
I turned
to make sure
that I wasn't
being
followed

my favorite
writer
or not
I didn't need
his doppelganger
following
me home

War
All The
Time