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Homeless and roaming the
streets like an orphan.
It was the dead of winter, and
I was still alive—barely.
My ex-girlfriend let  
me crash on her couch for
a few days.
She didn’t smoke.
I did,
so whenever I wanted  
a cigarette, I went out in
front of her
apartment and lit up.
One night, bent on nicotine,
I entered the January thaw.
As I had my  
smoke fix,
a man with a  
huge Rottweiler slowly
walked by.
The dog caught sight of
me, and gave me a low growl.
The guy talked to
his pet like he was
his best friend.
“Leave him alone, that’s his home;
let him smoke.”
The dog knew better, and
glared at me.
He barked loud and vicious.
“Leave that poor man alone.
Let him enjoy his cigarette,
that’s his home,”  the man said.
A small dog began  
yapping in the distance.
The man said,
“Oh great, you’ve upset that little dog.
Come on, let’s go.”
The Rott gave me an evil look, and
sauntered off.
He recognized his own  
He also knew that there
was something different about me.
He could smell it,
almost taste it.
He knew I was a mongrel,
and a stray.
He knew I didn’t
I sit in the dayroom of
cell block one in the county jail at
4:30 am.  It’s quiet, almost serene.
All the other inmates are asleep.
I wait for breakfast: two hard boiled eggs,
a doughnut, juice and milk.  
Once a week we can order books.
They will deliver them today.
I’ll get Bukowski, Steinbeck, and Cervantes.
The remaining six days will
fly by.
When I’m released, I’ll go under
the bridge—steal wine and
stay drunk.
I’ll eat every three or four days.
It’s January with record setting
frigid temperatures.
Survival will be a challenge.
There will be the ex-girlfriend to
contend with.
I’ll try to get what little
clothes that I left at her place,
that is, if she didn’t throw them away;
she’s somewhat of a **** like that.
My two best friends that stayed under
the bridge with me, died a day
apart two months ago,
so, nothing but
ghosts and memories there now.
I’m going to miss jail.
We wanted to
play the ukelele
the way we
used to,
leaning up against a lampost
hoping to be noticed
by girls in pencil skirts.
times change,
fashions too
I changed
so did you.
listening to music I don't understand
from some band on broadband
and I can't quite catch the melody,
there must be something wrong with me
or just that I'm missing the ukelele.
Another visit to
Med Psych;
the withdrawals are
I’m emaciated and malnourished.
With the exception of
one meal every few
days, I’ve dined on ***** and
wine for my sustenance.

I check out a lap top from
the patient library, and
try to get the poems organized on
my flash drive.
Concentration is elusive.

The psych doctor decides
to have me committed.
She’s concerned about my
worsening health and depression.
I guess I can’t  
blame her, but what
bird likes a cage?

I try to talk her
out of it,
but she’s resolute.

The next day, just
as the deputy is
serving me the
committal papers, I have
a seizure—a bad one.
My lips turn blue.
I **** myself.
The doctors pump me full
of Ativan.  Everything is a  
blur for the next
Slowly, softly,
my mind comes back.

I get a room-mate;
turns out he’s an
artist, a fantastic
abstract painter,
his name’s Chris.
Chris gets the activity
director to bring
him some paints and
other art supplies.

He goes to work;
stabbing the paper
with his brush—
makes it bleed with
color.  He’s a young  
a madman and a  
I have my notebook and
my sword.
I pound out the word, the line,
my highway through this
silly society.

Chris and I talked
long into the autumn
night, locked in a  
cerebral prison.

The room we were in
was more like a Greenwich Village
beat pad than it was a  
hospital room.
I admit: you are a little older than me.
But what if you wouldn’t be in the same story
which is not always the same for us in the same time.

What if the mountain we climb wouldn’t be so sure.
And what if – there is always plenty of ifs – the lake
we took a bath would be only a pleasant image.

The mirror of us. The winter bird in the tale
I spoke in our secret language to bury
the song we used to sang on the yesterday’s edge.

And here, and then. And the home on the other hand.
That is the hand of our IT we always shake
and never catch – as we want to – the next morning.
I wonder how old your smile,

how far your hemisphere:

fringes of your admired shape,
traces of your desired smell.

Might they reveal what clouds know.

Perhaps measure a held glance,
the flowers in your hair.

Perhaps discover
a here without a where.
Apathetic city skyline
This must be Drum Street
There's critical thinking
Digital tendencies

Pigeons on the roof
Kids in the library
Hail and flashpoint
Their final resting place

Who of you misses the bleak missiles of youth?
And how they used to hit like needles?

I can count your sufferings on my fingers
See them hidden in the tall grass
They move in secret
With shadow blister
As much as the caterpillar:
Elusive and eruciform

Sixteen crane wives
Collect on the guide wire
Their weathered plumage
Strangely displayed

Airplane debris on an uncharted wild
Macabre flowers growing out of air masks, gone quiet
The magic word is drear
It's a sorrow-filled caw
As if feathers from the grave
Clothing our fears

I can count the flock on my fingers
See them separate in mid-flight
Each a solitary path
Fusing rage and grief
Each a solitary path
Fusing rage and grief

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