albert huffstickler | two poems for thanksgiving


That stranger bearing your name
is following you.
He is walking in your shadow
down the street,
listening to your silences,
tuning in on your prayers.
He is waiting for you
to sense him and turn.
Then he will turn
and you will follow him
back to the place where you come from,
back to the place that was home
before home was anyplace.

Albert Huffstickler Nov. 21, 1984


Some things need to be commemorated:
I was walking to Winchell’s for coffee
when four old boys in a dark blue VW fastback pulled up.
“How ya doin?” asks the driver.
“Fine,” I said.
“You wanta go smoke some dope and drink some beer and eat some turkey?”
“Thanks,” I told him, “but I’ve got a place to go.”
“Well, we’ll find somebody.” They waved and wheeled off.
It was warm in Winchell’s. Outside, autumn had finally arrived.
Somehow, as you grow older, each holiday becomes a day of reckoning.
One of the crazies is talking to his girl on the phone.
She doesn’t seem very responsive.
His voice grows louder, more urgent.
Finally, he hangs up and stands a moment shaking his head.
The room busies, then empties.
I finish my coffee and leave.
Walking home, a transient stops me, bums a cigarette
and asks if I know if the Salvation Army is still serving.
I can take a hint. I give him three dollars and walk on,
trying to decide whether that evens the score or not.

Albert Huffstickler Nov. 28, 1985

Vox Audio published a CD with Albert Huffstickler in 1991 which is available by clicking here…

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