Bad Debts

Poetry of the Times, Bad Debts 47-year-old insurance salesman,depressed, alcoholic came ineight times, once with his wife.

$240

47-year-old insurance salesman,
depressed, alcoholic came in
eight times, once with his wife.
Stiffed me on the co-pays.
Lost his checkbook, forgot
his wallet. He liked to tell
stories, always the victim.
He was good at his work.
Sold me two months of BS.
And I bought it.


$1260

25-year-old sometime actress,
kept getting fired from day jobs.
Boyfriend beat her, stole her car.
She was pretty some days.
Wore too much lipstick,
got it smeared on her
front teeth. Insurance paid
when she had it and she lied
when she didn’t. Saw her off
and on for a couple of years.
She’d scream at me when
I’d ask her to pay. One day
she turned over two chairs
and fired me. I didn’t take her
to collection.

$30

61-year-old entrepreneur, bad
diabetes. Did drugs, stopped,
survived a divorce, brightened up.
Then he loses a toe, another,
then his foot, his leg. Infection
lingers, terrible pain. Starts using.
Misses an appointment,
misses another. I call him.
No answer. A month goes by.
His son is on the phone.
Suicide. The note says tell
Dr Berlin he was my best friend.
Tell him I’m sorry
I still owe him money.