Souvenir

Whatever is happening
is damage in the purest sense –
present tense lurching awkwardly
forward toward future tense,
disheartened at the prospect
of never being allowed to really be itself.

A dense shroud is oppressing
my own mode of being.
A code of ethics, some fucked up dream
I’ve had involving discouraging scenes
of white-washed antipodes
bickering for dominance.

The rise of discord to prominence
comes as billows of industrial smoke.
One measly toke of the stuff
sent my lungs into a hatred so pure
it was practically crystal! And hatred –
such a foreign concept to me.

The energy wasted on hatred
is energy I could have siphoned
into poetry or at least falling in love
with the world. Well, now
my aspirations all curl into crimes
and hurl themselves brazenly

into the heat of July,
trivial wing beats groaning
in a petroleum daze.
Is this permanence? Fixity?
Or merely a phase?
Something I’ll come out of

like coming out of a coma –
not really better for the experience,
just relieved to be awake and perceive.
I’m exhibiting symptoms
of a crude belief in reprieve,
not from any particular thing,

just reprieve in a general sense.
I hold my deceptions close.
Closer, it seems, than even my longing,
since I’m really only longing
for the idea of longing itself.
In more ways than one,

I’m a shelf littered with bitter souvenirs –
endearing to some, just maybe
even the focal point of the room.
But when it comes right
down to it – fuck – just a grim
medley of memories.

A faltering branch disclosing
withering fruit. I’m amazed
at my ability to fill up an ashtray
within the first fifteen minutes
of arriving, this striving
to leave reminders of me wherever I go,

sowing seeds in a field where,
historically, nothing has grown.
I’m considered a risk taker,
always looking to disprove
the naysayers, whoever they may be.
A mover and shaker like me

has always got something to prove.
A sequence of bold maneuvers
like a pirouette setting fire to the stage
and taking the rest of the theater with it,
patrons in flames and scrambling
for the emergency exits.

-r. miller

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