Poem For Richard

I worked for a genius once,
for several years –

I met a man who told me
he was a genius
but he wasn’t a genius,
he was just a
successful lawyer
who was very good
at pulling the strings
of those crazy rich people
at The National Arts Club,
I called him
Mr. Lightning –

but Richard shined
and poured himself
with love
over the work he did
at the Museum
tucked away
in his queer basement corner
behind stacks and shelves of books,
magazines
intricately piled
into tall,
unstable columns,

I was his bulldog,
he smiled at the new gig I got
and when he was sick,
when his genius brain
had cancer
his boyfriend called,
he wanted to hire me
to spend some time
a few hours each day,
to have lunch with him,
to make sure he didn’t
wander down the street again,
Richard asked for me
he said

and the last time I saw him
I was wearing a suit
in his tiny apartment,
also filled with books
and not as many
magazines,

the genius
would come and go,
he lectured
on his true love,
architecture
and then
disappear
behind the door
to his
bathroom
where the white tiles
carried an echo
the length of the apartment wall,

after too long of quiet
I knocked
spoke his name
the knock
bringing him back to the door
where
with jovial gravity
he said,

“Are you ready to meet the royal family?,”

“You know I hate the royal family, Richard.”

He went again,
“But they love you, Sean.”