The Old Mans Pennies
A Poem by Jim Nasium

Another new town high in The Andes
a long bus trip behind me now
I got to find a place to sleep
and get my wash done somehow
a good hot meal would make me feel
like I was home for awhile
and a sweet twenty peso whore
surly would make me smile

I found a room in a nice hotel
soon as I got into town
my room was up on the top floor
I like looking out and down
notice an old man in the street
people gave money to as they passed by
didn't think too much of it then
I just wanted to get high

Later that day on my way to a cafe
I passed the old man on the street
I dropped a coin into his bag
then went to get something to eat
on my way back to my hotel
I got a real good look at his face
he was dirty as could be and could hardly see
hung his head in shame and disgrace

The old beggar who sat in the street
was dressed in torn dirty clothes
but he had a bag of pennies
people gave him I suppose
as they passed him by on the street
though out the hours of the day
the beggar always sat in the same spot
he never seemed to move away

When I passed him on my way back to the hotel
I decided to give him a 100 peso bill
did it simply on a whim
and it gave me a cheap thrill
he asked me to take all his pennies
in exchange for my generosity
and I have saved them all to this day
they mean so much to me

The beggar on the street asked me to keep
the pennies he had gathered that day
I counted them up there was almost two hundred
and ever since then I put them away
now this may not sound like much of a deal
but please let me explain it to you
the pennies were Colombian Coins
and today they are worth a lot of money too

Back then you got 24 pesos for one dollar
so 100 pesos was just a little over four
and the two hundred pennies he gave me
aren't even minted any more
the coins have great numismatic value
to a collector or a guy like me
so in the end I was rewarded
for my generosity

Another new town in the Colombian Andes
a long bus trip behind me finally
I had to find a place to sleep
and get my wash done for free
a good hot meal always made me feel
like I was home for awhile
and the memory of it all
allows me to sit here and smile....

©2005 Jim Nasium

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