3PM and Now

I finally got out of bed
At around 3PM.
I checked the phone. No one called.
One junk mail text.
I hadn’t eaten in almost a day
And my refrigerator was empty
The way a bachelor who works sixty hours a week
Tends to have an empty refrigerator.

Driving with Joni Mitchell playing,
I am on my way to pick up food.
I call the kids: it goes to voicemail.
Mitchell has her conversation
As I see lightning striking the ground in the distance.
I drive on.

I get a text from work: I don’t have to work until 6AM.
To me, that is God letting me know I should drink
So I pick up an 18-pack before I get my food—
I still have ten in the otherwise empty fridge.

On the way back I remember my daughter asking me recently if I have friends.
I told her No and she told me studies indicate it is a sign of intelligence.
Such a sweetie.
The lightning is answered by thunder,
Fat plops of rain fall on my windshield.
I watch the headlights coming toward me on the other side
As I sit at a red light and wait.

I get home and I open my bag of food.
I sit, listening to the silence punctuated by the rumbles of thunder,
The sky outside my windows lighting up,
The rain falling without voice.
I open the first beer, drain half the glass before I take a bite of food.
I only have a few hours to get drunk and sleep.
I feel the coldness in my empty stomach spread to my limbs.
I’ll be numb in no time.

I think to myself that maybe I will take the book I am reading
And sit out on the porch when I am done eating,
Drink in hand
But I probably won’t.

I finish eating. I am still drinking.
It is nearly night now
And the numbness is spreading to all parts.
Maybe I will go out on the porch,
Sit down with my beer and my book,
Smelling the smells of this living-death place,
The rain spilling down,
The lightning highlighting this ugliness.

Small Purple Hands

Remember all the times you caught him cheating
And he told you the other woman didn’t mean a thing?

Remember how you felt knowing he was lying and remember
How your mind backtracked to every previous moment wondering about all of it?

Now that you are back with him I wonder what you say about me
And then I wonder if you wonder about what he said to you all those times.

Do you tell him the truth about how you cried and shook in my arms when
The orgasms and our moments in the dark overtook your heart

Or do you tell him that you were just out of your mind then?
I realize you almost assuredly tell him I meant nothing to you

And then I realize that no matter how you answer him when he asks about me
I smile at the very thought of any response you may give him

While I stare down at my small purple hands and wonder why I ever wanted them
To touch your body or paint their grubby little purple pictures on your grubby


Your Invective of a Thousand Failings

As you let loose your invective of
a thousand failings upon me—

  • my eyes glaze
  • the children hide
  • a neighbor winces
  • the sun shivers
  • and God puts down his tea cup
  • and plugs His ears
    with His immaculate fingers