Thursday, December 11, 2008

poem of the day 12.11.08

since i'm heading back to pittsburgh for a few days, i thought i'd post some poems about my experiences during other trips home.

a poet in pittsburgh

in the city
of my youth.
poems can wait.
the old friends
i am supposed to meet
at a bowling alley,
i think i’ll let it sit.
another friend waits
for my phone call,
but it won’t come
because i got drunk
in the city
of my youth
with no explanation
except that it happened
after a long drive,
and a lot of thought,
staring over the eastern suburbs
and the city,
both illuminated,
both poking over small mountains.
they are all there,
my old friends.
the regrettable past is there,
the years of suicide days and nights.
i cannot go through it again.
so i won’t.
i realize that i have been
nearly unfaithful
to everyone.
i have been a lousy friend.
and that suits me just fine
as i sit here
drunk on beer
in the city
of my youth.


i barrel around your house
stinking of the poison.

your grown man
your little boy

pulling the same shit
that i have for years now.

taking beer after beer
out of your refrigerator,
and sitting at your kitchen table,
mocking your christ,
and pontificating like a dumb sage,
to the point of howling madness.

and at night i hide the bottles
just so you don’t know
how bad it’s gotten.

i wasn’t born a jackass,
but goddamn it if i don’t play
the role so well,
every time i come here.

you must be so sick of me
by now,
and the expectations you weigh
each time i pull into
your driveway.
i know that i am too.

but something always keeps me
arrogant and small
when i come home.

there is an inability within me
to be sensible,
or to be an articulate, rational adult.

the only way you can possibly
see me
is as a red-faced brat,
or an irrationally, drunken man-child,
walking away from you
and the kindness of your pauper’s wallet
at some suburban mall,
like i did last saturday.

hell, if i’m not a pale shade
of the human being i used to be.
then i don’t know what i am.

and it’s funny,
because everywhere else
i’m so standoffish and reserved.
people don’t ask a thing of me,
and i give them nothing in return.
i enjoy the carefree human exchange
of apathy with everyone i come
into contact with.

but from you,
i am a glutton,
i get fat and full off your
and it appears i’ll always take more
than i can ever give back.

i don’t know.
maybe this poem
can be some kind of restitution
or payback,
a small sum paid
for the years of hardship and worry
and lost hope
that i’ve thrown at you.

if nothing else,
it’s at least a down payment
on the promise of my
future benevolence.

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