By Eric Lawson
The neighborhood has finally turned down to a bearable white noise setting.
The sun went off drunkenly stalking horizons long before then.
The traffic outside my window has thinned to a random trickle.
The rock station DJ banter has faded into the background.
My winter brow is sweating.
I am overheated and thirsty for clarity.
I am drinking water and soda and whiskey again.
One of them is empty but I stopped caring which one.
My innards feel like they’re cooking hot pockets that I don’t want.
I have this zygote of an idea that won’t let me sleep.
Is it a poem? Is it a story? Is it a flawed, rushed manifesto?
Yes. No. Maybe. It just is and it’s pouring out of me.
I have this idea that I need to communicate to a notepad.
I would much rather convey this multi-page burden in public.
But for the moment, I am resigned to hold back this heartache.
Why? Why not? I’m selfish.
So I used the word roundabout in the title of this poem, right?
I suppose you’re waiting for a nifty merry-go-round reference.
Well, have another drink, my friends. It ain’t happening.
My eyes slink back to caress the clock face.
There are no exclamation mark interruptions after two a.m.
I don’t have any inane texts or alarm clock to stress me.
In this moment, there is only me and my memories—
the ones that I recall and the ones that I am instigating.
My inspirado kite has drifted up over the Pacific Ocean.
Above the smog and the sound of drivers chasing dreams.
Above the forgotten lovers and friends and day job blues.
Above the book of my life that’s speeding towards an epilogue.
This is the hard-earned write that makes living all right.
I am trying to tell you something but my metaphors are mixed up.
I am trying to let you into my heart but you I can’t find my fucking keys.
I am worried that if I let you borrow my keys, you’ll make copies.
You’ll make copies and tear me away from my listless star gazing.
Yeah, yeah. I know how completely idiotic that sounds.
But it has taken me decades to build these snarky walls.
And I am powerless when you smile and say my name.