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Just For Today

I'm sitting here, half smoked through my fifth pack of cigarettes. That's for today, a dull yellow couplet of fingers extend from elephant yellow skin squeezing wet filters as I search for the right word, a dirty yellow penstroke, to swab from the filter, to keep me writing. That's from the years, from the piles of soaked butts in the corner; the corner I can reach from the table and dump the ashtray in, from the hazy clouds that tar this little writing room in muttered cliches, falling over each other like overpiled cigarettes in this ashtray, wanting to be dumped in the corner, or wanting another heaped on top, like a new word of the day, for a higher view, to find profound literary genius, the correct word, a catch-all, to describe the muck-filtered, watered down, edited for television posture of a group of old women I can see through the window. They look so proper and dignified as they wait for the bus. The years they must have searched for the right way to look, the right way to turn the head, ignore, raise the nose, eyes and brows as I see them doing from this alcove window, through a gaze of thin layers, colored nicotine yellow in this place of disconcerted bus lines.

"incongeniality causeth my cup to runneth over"

It didn't take long. When I wrote these words I knew there were too many faces, too many houses, too many bricks in this sunken row of screaming tenements, flinging aged layers of its aged paint to the sidewalks of those curious places where no one comes to buy, no one comes to shop, specked with old landlords, and landladies, caked with years of falling paint, squeaky floors, and the scurrying sound of rent free guests trying to chew up all my pencils.

"i've fallen and I can't get up"

(It was years, twenty-eight exactly, to the day, and thanks to someone at the jiffy mart, my birthday would be complete in pyro-optic entertainment.) Time is relative to the length of commercial breaks. Space is distance from the couch to the refrigerator, by way of the bathroom, at the end of the hourly programs. Matter is stuffs in the fridge, the right side cold storage items and frozen stuffs on the left; too time consuming in proportion to commercial breaks to bother with unthawing unless, of course, you own a microwave, we know they will pop popcorn and trust them, and include the left side of the fridge in mapping the way through blocks of Sunday paper's t.v. guide, fitting gray blocks, with darker blocks and trips to the bathroom, and the microwave, relative to the effects of time and space and matter stuffs in the fridge.

"There's a commercial, hurry up, light the cake!"

This is confessional poetry, a semblance of some ragged worn out caught-in-the-laundry-and-shredded truth that left itself on the steps of a small town whorehouse, complete with properly faked orgasms, immaculate ejaculations on the breast of the burly blonde at the microphone. Pearling under a half-hung moon, salty sand castle keepsakes she wears on her chest, and belly, and face, like medals she's won, and traded, for pen and paper, just to keep writing, to have a chance to tell the world of sexual treatises, written in wet-spots-on-the-sand, and on her back. This is truth - this is not confessional poetry, this is fifty dollar verse, or pseudo-erotic eclectic esoteric short-fiction: (No one at the reading thought she could have had these experiences - the burly blonde at the microphone.

"that's from the years"

So I can keep writing I'm going to start using the juice from those soggy cigarette butts. I'm thinking of inventing a machine to extract the juice to fill hundreds of little plastic tubes I emptied and kept, their fluid souls I captured on thousands of leaves. I keep them because I feel I owe it to them, I'm guilty. So I leave them piled in a box by the table, with broken sunglasses, and some cracked guitar picks, and since I'm nearly broke, and chain smoking, and sweating through hours, days, trying to grasp reasons for holes in the ozone layer, water trucks, shrink wrapped aspirin bottles, garbage trucks, then write them down, on the insides of empty cigarette packs, or napkins, until my last pen dries, and I think of siphonic punch presses stomping butt juice through the empty tube inside my last pen.

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