The Perfectionist

September 19, 2018
Richard M. Berlin, MD
Volume 35, Issue 9

Rotten teeth, dirt creased face, he’d come in for a hot and a cot and collapsed with DTs...

 

Rotten teeth, dirt creased face,

he’d come in for a hot and a cot

and collapsed with DTs,

this old English professor

who survived like a bass

you catch and release-

hooked in June and again in September.

He’d drink his way back

to his sidewalk claim,

where pedestrians crossed his body

like cars slowed by an obstacle.

One night I decked him out

with a Foley and fresh Johnny,

and in our quiet space asked

what he thought about,

sprawled on his concrete slab.

His jaundiced eyes glowed

and his cracked lips smiled,

You know, Dr B, I think about

Oscar Wilde when he said

“We are all in the gutter

but some of us are looking at the stars.”

Yeah, yeah I know that sounds like BS.

People walk over me like I’m a sack

of shit, but I’m laughing inside

because I know they can’t see how,

deep down, I’m a total perfectionist.

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