Wednesday, January 2, 2013

"i sweated you out like a junkie fever"

"i sweated you out like a junkie fever"
written after a new year in mexico by jake kilroy.

in mexico,
i sweated you out like a junkie fever.
strapped to the bed by tequila,
i drank bottles of beer for days,
and when the new year came,
i was awash in a gold
i've only seen on old bed frames in the movies
when the gentleman lover actually stays over
to make breakfast
for the heroine,
who can't speak,
but only laugh
and gesture.

on the ride home,
along a dirt road that felt like the past,
i whistled and slapped the metal of the truck,
putting on toots and the maytals
and asking my friend why we don't just stay in mexico.
he said, "then it wouldn't be the mexico we love."
and i thought about all the lines i've stood in at grocery stores,
at office supply stores, at post offices, at restaurants, at bars.
i dwelled on every time i slammed a car door and thought,
"i need to get out of this fuckin' town."
and there, on the backroad swooping onto the old road,
i chuckled, with eyes suddenly as wide and deep as the horizon,
and realized he was right.
why turn heaven into a wine bar
when it could be the great, beautiful field of grapes?

and then i thought about all the whiskey i was in line for,
all the paper and pens i needed,
all the letters i've sent over the years,
all the lounges i've tossed back shots and jokes,
and then, in one dumbfounded graceful knock on my own head,
i realized i was fine anywhere.
i just wanted to be elsewhere.

hell, i was in a great american music hall
in the rainbow-colored belly of san francisco
when i heard a song about cutting off my hands.
my only thoughts were,
what good are they anyway?
what good have they ever been?
what good will they ever be?
and then the song was over
and i clapped for the band.
and i smiled at the irony.
and then,
between the sick shifts of spitting and coughing,
i realized i treat my heart like a trampoline
and my brain like a bed,
when it should be the other way around.
i mean, hot damn,
swap mexico for america,
and i'm still just a man on the outskirts of town,
getting just far ahead enough of himself
to forget where he's been and where he's going.
i'm just a man barely sure of where he is,
but with all the time in the world.

and so we waited in line at the border,
and i fell asleep as soon as i crossed my bed,
and i dreamt of gasoline and wind
with a few nightmares of staying still.

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