Run With Me
It was about sunrise when I met this guy on the streets of the French Quarter and bought him coffee. I don’t know if he’s still around – that was some 20 years ago – but a two-hour conversation affected my life more than I would have ever known at the time.
It took months of walking by to stop and pull you to your feet. No one sits alone on these cold New Orleans streets. And you told me about your aching and your silent discontent by the way you looked away into the crowd while you bummed a cigarette. You said, “Man, man can’t you see I’m not here to find a friend, I’m just here to find me.”
The coffee wasn’t good. You looked away and said, “It’s late.” I’d been looking for conversation but you were looking for a chance to relate. And you wondered why I bothered to stop at all and why I’d brought you there. And I wondered why nobody had before and how you didn’t seem to care. And you said, “Man, man it’s not easy To be trapped between the beatings of that bastard and the perverts on the street.”
The sun was coming up when I said, “Let’s get some rest.” Then you finally got the guts to show the bruises from your father’s drunken fists. And you looked like you might cry if you only cared enough about yourself to give a shit. And I tried to look like I could heal the wounds or help you to forget. But the way we walked away like we were strangers still left nothing to my imagination about your stubborn will.
I couldn’t let you go with that marble in your eyes, so I said, “Hey man,” to your back, “let’s go watch the sun rise. I hear a sax down by the river and I need more cigarettes.” And you said, “Who needs sleep on your last day? I can’t take no more of this.” And I said, “Man that’s not the key,” as I ripped the filter from my Marlboro Red. “There’s better things in life than going home and wishing to be dead.”
I called, I cried. I said, “Please…. Run with me.”