On most nights, after working
on an assembly line,
he rides the bus to a beer store,
where they know him by name.
He purchases a six-pack of Bud,
his favorite ale,
travels back to a dingy, sparsely
furnished, bachelor apartment,
located in the low income part of town.
Most evenings, he’ll sit by himself,
flopped in lazy boy,
stare at a print, hung on a grey wall,
a yellowing, Norman Rockwell “idealism of family,”
listen to music playing on a turntable,
favorite tunes of classic rock, like Neil Young’s,
”It’s Better to Burn Out Than to Fade Away.”
Sometimes, He’ll turn the sound low
on an old, comforting, colored television,
purchased at a garage sale
ponder his past. Inhale a deck
drink cold beer, one after
to forget his cantankerous
to dull the pain, to escape
the the boredom
of his existence, to forget
of his kids, who’ve written
to dull the drudgery
of the day at work,
When the bud’s gone, he’ll pop a couple shots
of scotch, obliterating his mind.
Often pass out on the couch.
Some mornings, he’ll wake up, sprawled
on the floor,
as if a wino sleeping
on the street,
feeling as though he has
mind like morning fog, body fatigued,
Sometimes he’ll peer into
the bathroom mirror,
Take notice of black bags
under his eyes, pallid skin,
sometimes smell a stench of
stale beer on his breath.
The mirror reminding him, “Your a drunk.”
The apartment, a metaphor of his life:
Last night’s dinner still strewn on the stove,
stinking up the kitchen, dirty dishes
piled in the sink, like an abstract
installation of neglect.
Cases of empties staked to the ceiling,
as if a shrine to addiction.
Still, he thirsts for alcohol, like a drug addict craving a fix.
Sobriety his enemy. A case of beer, his best friend,
Intoxication his “joie de vivre.”
This evening, after another day of mindless work,
he’ll drink again….