Woolly Lips

Nobody likes poets, especially other poets.
Nothing but hullabaloo or murmurs too soft and sad to hear.
The annoying pulling on your sleeve, saying ‘look at me’.

I read a short story about a boy named Matt and thought
that it could have been about me, but then remembered,
like a bird coming back to its nest, that I am not a boy,
nor have I ever done anything like the Matt in this story —
who was courageous and interesting and worth writing about.
When I write about myself it’s mostly just snide remarks; like,
I only drink socially but I’m quite the social person, or
my best days are ahead of me because I’m always moving backwards.

When the texts stop it’s time to look for another vice.
Carrying your phone to the bathroom, scrolling on the toilet,
the germs ride back on it like the space shuttle rides on that
custom built Boeing 747, yet we pay extra for bags over fifty pounds?
You ever wonder if the reason life is so hard is because at some point
some clever bastard discovered fine print, and then other clever bastards
followed suit and now you can’t buy a pen or a roll of paper towels
without also scrolling through riddles of legalese that trick you into paying
an extra $5 if you don’t stand on one leg and pat your head while reciting
God Bless the Brawny Man, or some shot like that, or am I just paranoid?
And mad?

Which reminds me of my 40th birthday to Nashville, staying in an Air BnB
meant for bachelorette parties (you could tell from the neon LIVE, LOVE, LAUGH sign),
the Uber driver reciting a comedy routine punctured with classic songs, getting dropped
off on Broadway and dancing in the street to My Posse’s On Broadway, before the boots
and whoops and extra-unnecessary shots sent my soul a-limbo-ing through loopholes.
I remember thinking that life was both worth and not worth all the fine print, but it’s
a better choice than darkness, so I danced and wailed and spent my dollars with glee.

I’m a fountain of good times and bad decisions, maybe not bad, just not good.
But it’s all flowing out of me like a stone child spitting water into the air.
I watch Netflix, starting with one episode, then fall asleep through the next three.
There’s no way to get them back. But in some ways maybe they’ve entered me.
I’ve dreamed an entire episode of Stranger Things. I’ve watched Anthony Bourdain
drink Sake in Osaka without even knowing. I’ve woken to black screens 100 hundred nights in a row. I’m the king of nothing. Child of the abyss. Wool of a lamb’s kiss.

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