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I wrote this poem years ago when I was writing quite a lot of poetry. You probably don’t know this but my focus in college was creative writing, and for a while there I wrote a lot of short stories and poems and my ambition was to become a serious writer of serious work. That I have had financial success writing at all is a wonderful blessing, but I sometimes think I should return to this kind of creative work.
In any case, back in the day I also went through a drug abuse phase, experimenting with all sorts of substances before wising up and settling on alcohol, the respectable drug.
This poem is about crystal meth. Enjoy!
Sunday morning is a wet fog smeared red with streetlights. Alone in a slow rain, a low cloud, oil black pavement loud beneath tennis shoes, the shroud of wide black sky just beginning to peel up around the edges, match light striking up yellow flint in the east above the trees; the silhouettes of leaves. The grass I come to is softer than the street, imprints the fossils of my footsteps. A car passes dragging rain beneath its wheels, its engine muffled, its headlights hemmed in mist. I curl up beside a low stone wafer that juts up rectangular from the wet earth. An epitaph—two dates and a dash between, scattered rose petals, dark grass strewn about the ground pressed in where I kneel down, and drop a few shards into the bowl. And now you must inhale and keep twisting so as not to burn the glass: ever-so-gently breathe in, let it crawl down your throat, your esophagus, fill your lungs in one deep fluid, deep molasses gasp—slowly— and now exhale: wisp of sandpaper, burnt linoleum, the inside of a light bulb, sulfur and stained-glass, the Sahara. Mine, wide dilated eyes. Owl eyes. The time I couldn’t recognize you because of your two voids I thought must be eyes but couldn’t be, they were so black and empty and your face so pale I forgot skin covered your bones and those eyes only sockets and your name a distant thing that so many nights without sleep had erased. I unfurl myself and stand, awake and restless. The screen of spray and drizzle melts away into yellows and greys and the silent litany of trees and grass and whispering leaves. A graveyard washed across with light.
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