25 Foot Shoulders

I told her there was only one standard for evaluating our relationship.

The swamp coolers don’t work when it’s a hundred percent humidity. It’s hot and wet outside. The clouds come down in driblets, like a wet-mouth drunk is spitting secrets into your dirty ear. I’m sitting at the kitchen table in my underwear and socks, tapping away at my laptop. I should get typewriter clacks turned on with my keyboard, to lend an air fake verisimilitude. Like I was beat club Jack Kerouac. Bukowski probably wrote it out longhand, in pencil or crayon.

Don’t stand between me and the door, because I’m going through the motherfucking door.

We went to Cattleman’s. I asked her to stop so I could write a poem, my poem for the day, for my poem a day pledge. She said no. We can stop up there. Like all poems are equal. Like a poem up there is the same as a poem back here. One poem, all poems. Your poetry’s a trifle. A luxury I choose not to afford. Here, write this poem instead.

The road has 25 foot shoulders. Ten or twelve feet of asphalt, and sometimes 15 or twenty of #5 gravel. An excuse for not pulling over there is a poor excuse. If you can’t pull over there, you can’t parallel park.

Standing in front of the fan in my underwear. Rolling like a pig on a spit. The other side.

My stainless steel flask holds five ounces of semi-premium tequila. Five ounces is a medicinal dose for me. It’s my refuge for every little thing. Five ounces of pain-killing, edge-dulling, homicide-curbing, bliss.

I won’t get over it. I’ll get around it. I’ll put it behind me. But I won’t forget my dead poem. When all the other poems are gathered around me, toasting my health, dancing for my amusement, I’ll always remember the one I never left by the side of the road, on those 25 foot shoulders.

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