What Home Do You Leave?; Why Do I Suddenly Feel Free Of Panic? by Ace Boggess



“What Home Do You Leave?”


[question asked by Grace Welch]


City that held me in its undercurrents:

drug deals, bars at night, bands

that came & went like minor crimes.


That was home: Huntington along the Ohio,

its avenues parallel & perpendicular,

street addresses an easy cypher.


I did things there no one should be proud of:

schemed, plotted, begged. Often,

I played music into the early hours,


drank vodka, snorted lines off a dinner plate.

I hid amongst people who didn’t know my fears

as if a forest shielding me from devils.



“Why Do I Suddenly Feel Free of Panic?”

—Robert Bly, “Thoughts in the Cabin”


It’s not me going under,

wrapped in paper clothing,

tested, intubated, scoped,

scrutinized like a purpling cadaver.

I’m the driver. Future perfect.

Concertgoer eager for the show

to end. It’s not me poisoned

by the pinprick of sleep,

revealing what I keep hidden.

I know how to pass the time.

I’ve wasted more than I should’ve.

I’m good at it. A man my age

had better be good at something.