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Jonny Bolduc Nov 2014

A graveyard of empty whiskey bottles,
curled, browned labels coated with dust.

A farmer drank in this dirt basement, alone,
wind chapped face illuminated by a kerosene lantern,
swollen fingers forever  clutching the
glass neck of his half drained bottles.

I drink ***** in the renovated kitchen,
lit by dimmed lights, gentle shadows
dancing across the glossy hardwood floor.
I look out at the dark bodies of trees
swaying, uneasy in the night breeze.

Sometime after midnight,
the farmer’s ghost
stumbles up the creaking staircase behind me,
to our bed.
Jonny Bolduc Nov 2014
I wonder what language you were speaking.
Was it pure ******-babble?
Were the words pure? Were you
reciting the words to a song?
Were you singing?
Could I see your beauty?

Were you even cognitive, were you thinking
underneath the muttering, heavy clamor of words
that jail-broke from your mouth and streamed into existence,
flooding the men and woman
carrying bags and carts under the
artificial lights and long lines

Did you think that *****-mumble-speaking all over a single Korean mother
and her young child
was imposing or threatening in anyway?
If you’d have taken a step closer to her I would have had to step in,
but she quietly left her place and dragged her shy looking
boy with her as he stared at the ground-
and we did our best
to turn you into a ghost, clattering pipes in the empty walls-

I wonder how many rugs you’ve been swept under.
How many times people have tried and failed to plug up the holes in
your leaky brain.
How many times you’ve tried help yourself.
How many times someone has failed you-
how many times you’ve failed someone else.
How many occasions
exactly like this
people ignored you as you rambled on about nothing in a Superstore like a broken record skipping unpredictable sick scratched torn
Jonny Bolduc Nov 2014
Every thanksgiving,
My family gets smaller.
Gone to college. Gone traveling. Gone to another woman. Gone to Florida. Gone to prison.
Gone to see the lord.

Funerals are how
I visit the lord. God is drawn to eulogies.
He’s there, a fixture,
almost a cliche,
like a great aunt with a black veil
weeping into a floral

Today, at this funeral,
a thin layer of snow and ice
has frozen the ground.
Black dress shoes
press ridged footprints into the

Every funeral I’ve ever
been to has been cold. Dress
clothes and peacoats
aren’t thick enough to keep
me warm during a funeral.
I keep my hands in my pockets and hunch forward,
watching my breath hit the winter wind.
The winter wind is
an evaporated sadness, like god.

During thanksgiving, the gravy boat
on the counter
let off hot, thin steam.  While pouring it thick
on my potatoes,
A shadow in the corner of the room caught my eye.

The days after a funeral are
filled with a confused, hopeful mysticism. Every moving shadow,
every unexplained noise
is a visitation.  

So I ****** my head towards the corner of the room. Nothing.
Glancing back at the table,
I look at his empty seat, reminded

how much I’m him. I’m quiet, like he was.
laugh like he laughed.
My teeth are as bad as his were.
I drink like he did when he was
my age,
days, nights at a time, stumbling home from dark pubs,
watching, with blurred vision,
my whisky breath hit the winter wind,
and evaporate, almost as fast as God.

After the turkey and the pie and the coffee,
I go down to the basement
and I pour myself a stiff
*** and coke.  

I drink, in silence, to the gone.
Jonny Bolduc Nov 2014
Last Christmas grandmother told anyone who would listen that she quit the wine. She said it once as my father cracked open a bottle of ***. She said it again serving the ham; mentioned it in passing while gramps polished off a bottle of Malbec;

she said that last summer in the hot-tub at Laurie’s she had a bit too much Sangria and got out and fell on the pavement, cutting up her knees real bad ---

she said that she couldn’t even believe it was happening, she couldn’t believe that she drank so much. I could believe it.

Gram had always been a bit of a drinker; her sober stinging words caught you good enough even when she was on her best behavior. Imagine when she was unhinged! Talking while her teeth were all red was like getting sucker punched by a kangaroo; Gramps got all loose and loud, Gram got all hot and bothered and mean.

Don’t get me wrong. If I could, I’d drown in a pool of whiskey, choke on the amber stream from the tap.
But I don’t lie about it! I don’t talk about it; I don’t lie about it.
I’ve been sneaking sips since I was 14,
and I’ve been drinking pools of the stuff since I was 17 and if you asked anyone they might not believe you.

I wonder if punching people in the face and choke holding them into doing what you want them to do is a past-time. Most people drink to get nice.

People like her drink to get mean.
Jonny Bolduc Sep 2014
My alone, and the alone
you have in your heart
are the same. Sometimes, alone

doesn't make  any noise, it just sits
watching, deep, silent.

But sometimes, alone

is on fire, and alone is screaming,
and alone is bent, beaten --

and I wish my alone could
fly out of my mouth and become
fog-- but the fog has an alone,

everything has an alone, and everyone has
an alone. I can’t throw
my alone away. It belongs to me.

Sometimes, my alone sings into
the gently dropping sun,  and sometimes,
my alone floats up with
water, in the verdant trees,
the high birds,

and I know that my resting alone
is  also resting in the heart of the world.
My alone,
the only alone thrashing in  my heart,
is always thrashing in the  heart of the everything…

we all want silence,
we want to say ,

‘my alone can be only this loud,’
‘my alone can only ache this much’
‘my fire, it must be stomped out,’

our alone knows every secret.
We can’t throw it away.

Once the fire of alone sets

we break mirrors, and sleep all day, and smash
body against body;

but we can’t hate our alone. We can hate the fire, we can
hate the pain, but we can’t hate

our alone.
Jonny Bolduc Sep 2014
Let’s look together, in the tight, dark corners.
Look in the tough, raw twilight--
Once, I thought I found a bed, under a dome of stars.

I tried to sleep.

The world is always fresh. Everyone is always looking
for somewhere to sleep.

Sleep is a sort of end, and the stars are
a high, steady beginning. If you  find
our  new bed, or even a pile of straw hay, tell me.
    We’ll find a bed, make it, and lie in it.

A nest is a new beginning, and dust is the worn down end.
Let’s look high, in the open, bright wings.
No-- We don’t have to find dust. It’s right here.
    Don’t cough. We’ll nest  in the sky.

Sunrise is a beginning, and sunset is an end.
Eventually,  both lose meaning.
We’ll forget to look, once we find our bed--
    Once we find it, we can rest.
Jonny Bolduc Apr 2014
To be awake,
to be blind,
I’ve never understood the difference.

On a parkbench,
on a streetcorner,
silent, idle, waiting

for sadness, or the lack of it,
for the excess of it;

to be awake, to not know
is there a difference?
In the water,
floating, sinking, drowning

in sadness, or the lack of it,
by the excess of it;

When I awake, I am blind,
When I awake, I do not know,
When I wait for the bus,
on the street corner,
I am blind.
When I am sinking, baptized, or drowning,
I am dumb.

I am always
drowning in sadness, or the absence of it.
I am always
drowning in sadness, or the excess of it.
I am always floating
in the not knowing,
always smothered
by the dumbness of it all.

Do you feel the same? Choked to death
by melancholy?
Does some thick smoke cloud up
your lungs?
Is it the melancholy? Is it the
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