One of my favorite poems. “Two out of three ain’t bad.”
Two out of three ain’t bad.
I was sitting alone in a Austin tavern in 1996.
Drinking long Island ice teas.
Trying to get blinded.
A old man dressed poorly ordered a water.
Bartender gave him a bad look and walked away.
I told the bartender.
He drank the Long Island ice tea quickly.
I ordered him another.
He thanks me.
Asked me. “Was I alright?”
I told him.
“Not too good.
But I will be fine.”
He touched my back.
“You got two out of three.
Better then most of us.”
He looked outside to the cold rainy night.
“All three are hard to hold on to.
You got the booze. Number one.
You still got the road. Number two.
You still got a lot of living left.”
“The third one ain’t so easy.
Love cost a lot.”
I bought another round.
He raised the Long Island.
Make a cheer to life.
“To the road.
To better days.
To good booze and wine.
To sweet woman lost on the road.”
He smiled and told me “I was successful once.
I had the big house.
The beautiful wife waiting for me.”
“I choose the booze.
I loved the road too much.
Now I sitting with you.
Alone and wishing I held on tighter.”
I looked into his sad eyes.
Asked him. “What was really important?”
Told me to order him a double shot of whiskey.
I ordered the whiskey.
He drank in down quickly.
He whispers “Hold on, tightly and be thankful.
If you find the sweet woman.
Who loved you.
Nothing as sad as a old man dying alone.”
I left him.
Gave him a few dollars.
Thanks him for the advice.
I learn two out of three isn’t so good.
Need someone to love and care for you.
Before it is too late.
3 July 1996