i saw the broad-shoulders
howie strolled into the gym this morning...
looked at me sadly, as i hoisted a dumbell,
and said, 'i gotta tell yah about jack'
i knew it was bad news
alcoholic jack hadn't been to the gym for a couple of years
he just lost his alcoholic wife this year to cancer
jack was on a mission to drink himself to death
howie and jack are two chicago men...
tough guys and good workout partners
howie tells me that 'jack drove his truck into a parked car
he was drunk as usual and now faces his fourth DUI
what's worse is that jack is on life support, but awake and aware'
the respirator is keeping his lungs filled with air
i put my weights down
saw the perspiration dripping on my shoes
looked at howie and shook my head
i told howie, 'jack went down fast...
only took him two years'
i remember him when he was doing sets of twenty chin-ups
at the age of sixty-three
howie said, 'yah know what, rich?'
'he mouthed the words, 'pull the plug'
i asked howie, 'didja?'
'naw', howie answered
that was the end of the conversation
me and howie started pumping iron
i spotted him and he spotted me
that's what friends are for