The long days, the forgotten nights
have left me scarred and depleted;
I’d consumed my fill of sour cabbage and
cheap whiskey and slept on damp piles
of rotting leaves, wrapping myself in
regret and self pity.
There were, of course,
lucid moments when the wind would
caress my cheek softly, like the touch of
an angel, and in those moments, I made
vows not meant for keeping.
My coat, now threadbare and reeking
of last night’s vomit and rain, has been my home;
I dwell deep within its folds, seeking
some comfort there and finding none,
toss it to young mulatto boy, who will be
dead before winter finishes lashing his
heroin scabbed flesh.
But listen, my friend, I have known joy and love,
and those in copious measure, when I was young
and foolish enough to believe that even the
wilted rose retained her charm. I have lain with
princesses and chambermaids with equal
passion, the rusty moon of autumn casting
night shadows upon our secrets.
I once handed out ten dollar bills because
the roll in my pocket was so big it chaffed my thigh.
Now, the cold jingling of pennies and a nickel
mark the cadence of my stumbling gait.
In my youth, and folly, I read Yeats and Eliot
and took solace in their pretty tomes; they
hung bejeweled words around my neck and filled
my boyish mind with infinite possibilities. They
lied, of course, but still I welcomed the deceit
and even scribbled a few haughty poems on
love and other falsehoods myself.
Don’t misunderstand…I do not rail against the
imbalance of life. Some ride the festooned
dragon across velvet skies, while others bathe
in the shit and piss of their miserable existence;
and certainly we will all go down together beneath
the broken sod.
Today, I just look for a patch of yellow grass
upon which to lie down, close my blood stained
eyes, to catch my final breath and let this
bitterness go. I have no fight left for this life
(Sketch by Josef Rocha)