Skin Deep

I am standing beside the door greeting guests,
And so god-damn thirsty,
Dousing fire with whiskey and ice when
She walks in, smelling like crushed petals and Italian wine,
And a name I don’t remember
But her dress lingers on and on like crisp white sails,
The only thing I can think about is maybe
She’ll dance with me but the bathroom mirror
Is an honest friend, speaks the truth of my condition,
So I spend the night talking to a car
And everyone else.

Doctor My Eyes by Jackson Browne

Doctor, my eyes have seen the years
And the slow parade of fears without crying
Now I want to understand

I have done all that I could
To see the evil and the good without hiding
You must help me if you can

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what is wrong
Was I unwise to leave them open for so long

‘Cause I have wandered through this world
And as each moment has unfurled
I’ve been waiting to awaken from these dreams
People go just where there will
I never noticed them until I got this feeling
That it’s later than it seems

Doctor, my eyes
Tell me what you see
I hear their cries
Just say if its too late for me

Doctor, my eyes
Cannot see the sky
Is this the prize for having learned how not to cry

Longevity in the Midwest Corner

Suspended in mid-air on summer heat, I watch the children laugh and skip in the streets. Pink sunlight babbles through Venetian slants; I am drawn to the window, out the door, lighting a cigarette with each halting step. Two, to savor the evanescence. Three, because the sun wears me down.

I am drawn to a bicycle and where it sits in rusted silence, this backyard of omniscient weeds and misplaced gold. When I was younger, I was drawn to the passing dusk too, but these things pass and somehow the light always fades. Caught in a sober moment, I begin to beat the cobwebs.

Each stroke breaks a thread. Like this sulking contraption, I have sat for months, encumbered by malaise and a damning project out in Utah. They jet me home on a never-ending sunset for a half-hearted recovery, a little out of touch, a few pounds emaciated. Only the bottle greets me.

The weekends come and go. I drink… smoke… often alone, too wasted to make the drive to half-hearted friends. Over 4th of July holidays and in my dreams, I continue to run server migration scenarios. I wake up in an airport just as the sun peers above the mountain peaks.

There is never enough sleep. Funny how the word echoes two-dimensional as you become a caricature. In the quiet afternoon of debilitating heat, I lean back with the radio on, a paperback Bukowski propped against the pillow, watching dust settle in each empty corner. Pink light pasted all around.

My laundry takes root on the floor, scattered and in between the cracks, not so wild like crabgrass or prodigious wheat, but just enough to leave a presence. My hand moves to prod the weeds but stop. They say a clean room is a sign of a clean mind. I say an empty room is an empty heart.