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methamphetamines by day and muscle relaxers by night

you stormed the typewriter with sunburnt skill

in assurance’s tropical attire

bought so-longs with a dreary timecard of sandblasted mornings

never-remembered stretches of 14-hour increments

weeks and weeks just gone

along with the wine and the children and the blank pages

as the desert dust pricks your tongue raw

houses smaller than red eyes

flights between living alone and together

sardine bones jagged in your teeth

hugging lunatics in sadder asylums of dance-less loves

slower to the show in the ragged fashions of fall

a martyred grief that just stows and staves on and on

off to other strikes that’ll never heal

the punctured worms of compunction that wriggle in

the found structures of matrimony’s kneeling

not so holy now

not so reverent as the bitter passengers gather like dead birds

ugly winnings wired to flimsy felt breath

another love letter to wake up and cry to

notes of madness in the wuthering lows of a hustle’s wind

a pipe organ for your harmonica’s flattest notes

a chorus of ever-changing women to come and go

scooping up the dirty headlines and bad reviews

reaching for formerly hurled rocks gone mossy in the dark

this

this is not being cinched in the throes of lassitude

it is petulant beatitude

if anything

and you were listing in a pack boat with the glut of Hydra on your heels

gaining always sotto-voiced and sacked sadder

on the make of what you’d never let on that you actually were

christened to this ugly winning

without even a diary or a penknife to your name

longer ways up to sunshine’s awful drop

so sing deeper and another song so much deeper

as the deadweight lifts and the money runs thin

clenched in meditation’s white-knuckled grip

you are the predawn watering of lawns that old folks dance to

when the leftover razors dry-shave the dull to competence

when the dented cymbals and trashed guitars are dropped to the blank stage

when the rice throws itself at next month’s indecent man

and you are standing in for yourself

at last poised for a flea circus’s stunted finale

until the heinous saints with their borrowed scalpels

and the cattail wielding beautiful butchers

and the cruelest wanton of the true believers

botch what shine remains in the scuffed diamonds of what you sometimes and always almost were

this mailbox is empty

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