I just met Patterson Cisco,
A man from West Virginia and Florida too
With four sons he put through college
Who lives out on the street here in Steel City, Alabama.
Says he has a trailer on Ford Road
And a house up on that hill.
If whiskey don't kill him,
He assures me the drinking surely will.
Worked for General Motors years ago and's retired now too.
Been sleeping a week at a time forever
Although if he can get drunk tomorrow, which is Saturday,
Then Sunday he'll be gooder'n good.
It'll be a beautiful day
I hear him try to say
Since Monday he hopes he gets paid.
He don't smell or look
Like these things he says are true.
He looks down, poor, sad,
Telling more lies than stories
And ain't a damned thing he can do
To stop or even help try to change it.
Says he knows enough love it could kill a man,
And he tells me he don't want to die by his own hand.
Rest assured he's a lot more
Than just some silly old man.
His teeth, mouth and eyes
Are all shaky, trembling stubble.
Alone all the time
Alcohol jaw whispers,
"I wish I could see just one more
Less than double."
Talks all about love and good things,
Sure says he knows them all well.
Simple, no doubt he's pure in his own way.
Then a little girl wanders up to us and prays,
"Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"
He's so caught up he don't even hear.
So his skin crinkles up crow feet around his eyes
When he smiles or barely tries
To keep on smiling like somebody told me once.