When I am lost and disconnected
my retail therapy
is to buy a new pipe
or flask. The process
of breaking in distracts me:
do I go with bourbon or Scotch,
dense purple or loose green? At the end
I’m still lost and still disconnected
but warmer. I own a lot of flasks
and pipes, but can always add more
and that gives me something
to look forward to.
When I’m less disconnected
my retail therapy is
to buy a folding knife. Do I go
with assisted open or simple
old folder, liner lock or frame lock
or old school switchblade
from a disreputable source? I tell myself
it’s the workmanship that draws me,
but I know better, you know better.
I own a lot of knives: not as many
as I once did, but I can always buy more.
When I am lost and restless and need
to reach out on the deepest level, seeking,
my retail therapy is to buy a guitar.
I lose what little sense I have and
the last money in my pocket for the joy
of stumbling the same old chords over
the stiff strings of something new, and even if
nothing or no one answers, I try. I struggle
toward nothing new with the same hands
that I’ve always had, I try. I own fewer guitars
than I used to, but then again, I try less, too.
When I am broke, I write.
I don’t have to feel anything
when I write. I don’t have to
pretend it’s going to work
this time. I don’t have to pretend
I know what “working”
even means anymore.
Is any one poem
better than a pipe,
knife or flask? Is this keyboard
better for me than a fretboard?
I can’t say. I just know
I’m broke more than I’m not
so I have a lot of poems
and though I’ve not spent a penny for them
they still cost me plenty.