Saturday, May 15, 2010

going back out


Going back out,
that's what he fears most.
To resume his last
miserable drunk,
homeless, loveless, broke.
Scratching up money for a fifth
of whatever he's drinking
- vodka when he's semi-flush,
cheap wine when he's not.
Lacking the guile to beg or steal,
he washes dishes in a dive
for a meal and a bottle,
sweeps out bars for drinks,
knowing he can't hold a job
much longer than a day.
Scavenging cigarette butts
from barroom trash cans.
No place to get out of the cold
except for the missions
and flop houses.
He hates the flop houses
with their toothless managers
spreading their shit-eating grins.
He dreads the city winter
as the cold seeps in and wraps
its tendrils around him,
and he fears seeing one more
sooty gray dawn with grizzled men
like himself mindlessly shuffling,
searching for the next drink.
He fears the back alleys,
fears he's destined
to live in their filth, huddled
in whatever hole or box he can find.
No longer caring for himself,
just craving alcohol.
That insatiable craving.
And it's the grayness he fears,
the empty, pallid expanse
of his remaining years
and losing people who
used to love him.
He's frightened of going out
and not coming back.
And he fears thoughts of suicide.
He has no answers to why he drinks,
why he gives in to the bottle.
His mind cannot or will not grasp
that last thought.


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