By Tim Greenup
The wine in my cup is enough
to keep me trudging
through the red brick alley,
the shadow of an ape
on the wall beside me.
I’m reminded of St. Patrick’s Day
when Sam gave me a cigarette.
I took two blissful drags
then vomited beside a dumpster.
We’d been at a bar so small it felt like the womb
I shared with my sister
who was never born. So stubborn,
she formed a cocoon around herself
and refused to be nourished.
On the cold walk home, Sam and I
slapped construction signs, yelped
into a blank sky. We had been drinking
green beer since noon. Eventually, like always,
Sam vanished into a dark sedan
with some woman I would never meet.
At home my ceiling spun
into a room I could never enter.
That guy is always comfortable
is something I hope people say about me
at parties while I pile corn chips on my tongue
and drink fruit punch, tangled in memory of
Dan Griffith, my friend from middle school,
who’s face in hindsight was a green lizard face.
He mastered more video games
than I was ever comfortable with
and once told me if I masturbate
then I must be gay. That shaped 7th grade.
Of course, the onlookers know nothing of this.
He seems at ease in all environments, they say.
Adaptable and unworried by the great,
nightmarish, adversity facing us all.
They study me as I wipe a
salted hand on my pant leg and
advance on the Cheetos. What I mean is this:
there was something imperial
about the way Dan played video games, as if
conquering was the sole enterprise.
Never did he inhabit those worlds
on their own terms and build relationships
with the bearded man selling potions
or the mustached man selling weapons,
never did he truly hear
the clinking of 8-bit characters and their odd
drumming. Rather he sat alone
on the throne of his waterbed
bending and abandoning lives.