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The time when someone caught us in the garage
with whiskey and the cigarettes somebody gave me
A memory that I said was too removed from teenage lethargy
But really it was the embarrassment
that I told my friends I could get away with it

The time when Mom told me I’ve been insane all my life
and certain precautions must be met like checking my shoulders
and Dad checked my bra in case I was hiding a bottle of wine
And they were oblivious, asking why am I always so angry?

In the state of Illinois when I hit the age of eighteen,
I can run as far as I want, you know I’ve  been practicing
But you also know change is ******* me
And that I’m short tempered, impulsive and insane
So maybe I’ll come back in a few years or maybe never again
Syd Hafner May 17
Oh, Annie Gayle
there’s nothing really wrong with you
They’ve got a quota and something to prove
Spin your fingers and wait it through
because you’ll be someplace
pretty as soon as they tell you
you can

Oh Annie Gayle,
they hid all the niceties
the things that were yours, that you could keep
What kept you alive, what kept you free
You placed yourself under the house
and didn’t come out until they grabbed
your feet

Oh Annie Gayle,
You’re not clinical just malcontent
Just you make it to your next appointment
And there you can finally talk about how they
Cut off the friends that held your hands
and then shoved them up your
fingernails

So when you’re both older,
and they need some extra care
Hide the niceties, whatever’s theirs
and take to it to Miss Gayle
Syd Hafner May 14
Staring at this awful paint splatter
I think of your graduation and
all the tears for the After Illinois artists and actors

The things you said at that stairwell
of the fame and the plan you had
will all go to hell the moment you hit
Hollywood

And Sydney don’t cry,
but this lovely flood of orange and blue
means another few are getting away
and there isn’t anything you can do
Syd Hafner Apr 29
I think of you in Champaign
on South Neil of muffins and coffee
Driving around just to park in Marketplace
and wasting all our money on things we don’t need

I remember you in Philo
of gas station ice cream and stray dogs
and on Christmas Day in dear Tolono
just a few miles northeast where Grandma used to live with Mom

I remember you in November
and even after I moved out of that house
You said this friendship has walked away
I said “*******, we’ll talk in a few months just probably not today”

And I haven’t seen you since
Syd Hafner Apr 19
Laying out your summer clothes,
and wishing you were home
you still sought the ragged places
only Jesus Christ would go

Asking only a ride down south,
you were offered no Samaritan hands
Just the come-ons from old men
who didn’t understand

Barely hitting Mobile those state
troopers took a few of your molars
Through your crying you did declare
you would make it down to Florida
Syd Hafner Apr 15
Jenny, remember me
Someone told me you’re still so pretty
then they went on to say
that your sore cheeks,
have makeup done up in such a hurry

Jenny, remember me
in the pharmacy
The man who saw your crooked veins
went on to say that “we
don’t sell to stomach pains”

Jenny, remember me,
only twenty-three
Godspeed to you and the white lady
But if all else fails,
I know you don’t want me to worry
Syd Hafner Apr 14
Was it all, anymore
better after all?
Does my eye look less,
less wrapped in alcohol?
Is it any better now?
I tripped on the fall
that I fell down on

Clearer, do my eyes
look any clearer?
Do my knuckles look,
look any cleaner?
Am I any better now?
I faded out on the fear
of another bottle
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