For years I tried to start smoking, scurrying out before theme parties:
Bad Taste Ball, Red Light, Pajammy Jam—to pick up Pall Malls,
Only to find the shreds of tobacco slipping past my lips.
Tonight, some fifteen years later, I rushed out for a walk, alone,
Minus wife, kids, mother-in-law,
Left a flat cauldron of beef stew to roast in the oven for an hour.
I cook now. I follow recipes. I make up my own.
“Be back,” I said. Like those fathers you hear about that say,
“Be back. Just going out to pick up some smokes,” and then never return.
What if I kept on walking and left for good?
When you’re wired for guilt and depression, this is what you think of.
You’re surrounded by light, yet spend your whole life,
Looking for shade, just a slice.
at my thinking place,
Where Mark Twain sits in bronze,
Forever reading Huck Finn to anyone who will sit next to him,
A few drunk hopeless fans smoke their consolation cigarettes.
We lost again tonight.
I want them gone, off my bench,
So I can sit next to Sam,
Breathe in some fresh air,
Clear the muck upstairs.
I sniff their second-hand,
Let them have our moment,
If we don’t win, it’s a shame.
Your life ended up going to shit,
And what did you do?
You kept floating down the river,
Smiling at it,
Your dial set to happiness,
If only for a bit,
Now you sit,
In front of the IHOP,
As you did then,
at your birthday party,
At the end.
For, who else,
Were you going to celebrate?