Frank

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

Submitted: August 23, 2018

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Submitted: August 23, 2018

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I asked a half naked man once
who was sitting in an aluminum
frame lawn chair from the 70s
tilting slighly to his left
having worked that side
deeper into the beach sand
just north of the pier
in Malibu
far enough away from Venice
that most of the tourists
stayed clear
close enough though
that the drunks and weirdos
still felt safe

I asked him

Frank was his name
and he was a short hairy Greek man
who never wore a shirt
just Speedos
leather loafers
and one of those Greek fishing hats
with the sloping brim
nested tightly in that grey curly hair

Frank drank vodka
from a plastic bottle
he kept in the trunk of his car
he bought his car and his lawn chair
the same year
he'd been buying cheap vodka
ever since

he got to the beach early every morning
to get a good parking spot
his front tires damn near touching the sand
that way he didn't need to walk far
between his chair
and the trunk of his car

he had his moves down to a science
he knew what he was
I respected that

I imagined he had been in some
foriegn war
or at least on a ship at sea for many years
he had that look
that stare

I liked Frank
and knew I could ask him anything

so I asked him

as we sat in our chairs
in the sand
facing West
and wave after wave broke against the shore

I asked
"Frank, what's the most valuable thing in life?"

the waves and the gulls
and the seaweed and the foam
burning under the sun

maybe twenty minutes passed
maybe it was an afternoon
then Frank said, "Time"
and passed me the plastic bottle

Frank said he'd been at his father's bedside
as he lay dying in a tiny hospital room
and all his father prayed for was time
until he died
like a whisper
like a puff of air

I could tell that story made him sad
the ocean and the sun
and even the cars in the parking lot
behind us listening in
I handed Frank the bottle

"Genghis Khan died of syphilis you know"
Frank then said
"in the end, he couldn't even get it up,
he had everything
an Empire
everything he wanted
food
money
women
and he couldn't even get it up!"

Frank handed me the bottle
and I took a big drink

"Fuck Time"
Frank said
"didn't do him any favors, did it?"

the sun and the salt finding my eyes
families and brightly colored normal people
slowly moving all around us

"Fuck Time"
I said back
digging my feet into the cool sand underneath
facing West into the ocean
settling in for a long afternoon
with Frank


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