4 a.m., and sleep seemed a thing impossible.
The mottled face of the ceiling was like that of the moon,
pale and barren, and offering nothing.
His eyes moved to the orange strip of street-lamp glow
cast across the bedroom wall by the window.
He watched the steam from the sewer drains
wash and dance
like ripples across a mud puddle,
before once again glancing at the hands
of the Big Ben clock at his bed-side.
Sleep wasn’t coming.
It had made its appearance brief, and seemingly
had moved on, leaving him to yearn.
Now, he did yearn,
but attempted to stop, for he knew
such an act would yield nothing.
There is always,
in every dive and bus bench
and street corner and bar-stool and bank line-up
some shifty gent with cracking skin, thick glasses, scars or scabs,
who mutters curses under his breath to no one,
I am the chosen one
who soaks up the confessions of the lonely and lost and forgotten.
One of these days. I’ll witness a death. I just know it.
Why do bad things always happen to me?
baked by the fresh, morning sun
the streets reek of boredom, panic, and piss
decide to practice increased tactility
practice keeping my head from bowing to track my shoes
practice my breathing
practice regulating judgmental tendencies
achieve temporary reprieve
enjoy a brief taste of peace
until I remember that there is horror
horror and death, that floats above us all
ready to set upon us at will and whim
there is danger, and blindness, and strokes, and insanity, and…
and then, I remember women
I remember sex with a woman
feel myself growing lighter, in shade and weight
feel myself getting hard
I’m not thinking about dying, anymore
dawn sets land ablaze
warms and eases writer’s cramp
puts dead words to rest
The gracious palm extended by our host
Makes light the anxious air inside the hall
Regretfully he dare not leave his post
Or else to chance abandon he the ball
The streamers tickle tops of drinks in toast
To health and happy tidings one and all
Tonight we dance ’til give we up the ghost
And mark we morning by the rooster’s call
But lo, our gracious host is absent nigh
And slowly dies the music feeding dance
As dim the candle flames about us grow
We see the celebration is a lie
And curse the name of horrid happenstance
That takes us with the dying candle’s glow