Walking with Steve to the Book Party

I picked Steve up at his apartment
his was door’s ajar, when I arrived
I don’t remember if I rang or knocked
but he yelled, Come in.
Steve was sitting on his sofa, wearing shades.
He began telling me his stories
how he taught at Medgar Evens College,
blah, blah, blah…
how he’s been working with writers since the 1906s
blah, blah, blah…
He asked me questions about the people I met studying at The New School.
I felt like he was testing me. Did I know Nikki Giovanni?
Did I know Ishmael Reed?
When he was ready to leave, he stopped at his closest and said,
Take out a jacket that’ll look nice with this shirt.
I helped him put on a dark tweed-
he said, Find my wallet, it’s in one of those pockets,
and give it to me.
Steve said, I moved to New York from New Orleans
I told him my father’s family moved from Poland to the Lower East Side
and they settled, on Avenue B and Twelfth Street.
I’ve never escorted a blind person before
and I really wasn’t sure the best way to do it
we were awkward at first
but we soon found our rhythm
shuffling together like a second line on Bourbon Street.
We shuffled along and Steve told me
the process of creating a book,
70 poems minimum,
find an editor and get four outside readers.
A few blocks before the venue
Steve needed to rest
We sat on a bench at a bus stop
We talked about alcohol
blah, blah, blah
We talked about addiction
blah, blah, blah
We talked about families
blah, blah, blah
How you can’t pick ’em.
It was the first time I ever helped a blind person
navigate the streets of New York City.
Steve said, “You did a good. I didn’t crash into any mailboxes.”

–Linda Kleinbub


Poetry

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