Being Addicted to Crack and Finding Yourself Alone
Semis freefall along I-81. Cracked out & bank broke. My house is 4 a.m. quiet. Wearing t's in 10 degrees. There is no one else in my house. Need to spot a 30 piece. My house is too big for me. I rock boots, crop tops all winter long. My house swallows me. Wearing this disease like a thick, gold bangle. My brother has one sister & she is missing. Call Pooter from the 7-11 payphone with the plainclothes cops. My house has a hum. It's not me they want you Barry. There are no birthdays in my house. I've got a Hefty gallon baggie full of quarters. Barry yells, who the fuck is gonna take loose change, Vonnie? The truckers are addicted to their alone time. It's legal tender, Barry, & someone, I don't remember who, gave us crack for coins. They are drinking strong coffee. I think I will stop drinking.
Everyone Was Alive Then/A Ghazal
Circle Jerks/punk/& mosh this D.C. dive bar/youth's blackened cavity/ 930 & F there are autumns we chose to forget, G. Each weekend/ Hüsker Dü /The Dead Kennedys/black eyes & broken noses at least we are together, G. Who cares, we were young/ arrested, protested the hunt/ we saved deer On the Mall with Krishnas we broke bread, G. H-town/ where "showers" are "shares"—a landscape tethered to night. Is a great place to grow up if you don't fear the dead, G. The same house for 30 years doesn't change. Your Circle Jerks poster hangs in your room New photos; you look unkempt, G; Like an image from my imagery journal that reads: A broken bough/ weather-scarred/ bark patched/ it's us you left, G. & a functional Coke machine in Tommy's Cooke's kitchen. & snow fell outside & everyone was alive then, G/
Back at the gas station G tells everyone within earshot of pump 9 you won your car on Teen Jeopardy. Truth is you’re 26, it’s a rental & costs $1,200 dollars a week. The Lincoln is shiny-slick like a wet baby frog. You have 900 miles to go. You & G grow up hungry. Bury a father and two stepdads, watch mom hang laundry in the yard. The three of you, birds tucked tightly inside a home made from split twigs. You watch the blue sky close its doors. G is asleep beside you. You do not wake him at South of the Border, his favorite rest stop. His breathing so shallow you think he’s dead. G marries L. L’s grandma is the model who totes the basket of grapes on the Sun-Maid® raisin box. L looks nothing like her. L is an only child. She has never lugged hunger to bed. She will never know what it’s like to sweep darkness from a home. Her family is the bridge, yours is the flood. You reach your destination: Paul Reubens’ childhood home. You and G have watched his movie 241 times together, and you know this because you tick the calendar box “P.W.” each time you watch it. You peek inside Paul’s mailbox, take in the beach where he must have sunbathed, the sand that formed his footprints. His front yard cools in the shade of live oaks. You drive by his uncle’s lawn sculpture shop, the movie theater where your tin god was arrested. Your laugh is G’s laugh. L will hate you because of this. Communication with G will collide into concrete, and neither of you will know why. You won’t be able to fix what doesn’t have a name. It will be impossible to de-clutter the closets in your skeleton. Disorder will be driven by the silent function of time.You will ignore milestones, holidays, bury G’s birthdays in the unsent mailbox of your mind.
VC Amey holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Central Florida. Her poems and fiction have appeared in Tin House, Rattle, Pleiades, Juked, Rhino, Hobart, and elsewhere. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.