“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.