But That Ain’t True


By Mathieu Cailler

Mom says I got no friends…..no one to play with
but that ain’t true
I got them all here…..in my room—
on the bookshelf…..the nightstand
on the bed…..and on the floor

Just last week…..I took a trip
with Dean
and Sal
and Mary Lou
I smelled their clothes…..and hair
and lit their joints too

then I sat in that apartment
next to Mel and Terri
and Laura and Nick…..slugged some drink
and watched the sun drop down

Not too long ago I vacationed in Yalta
met up with Dmitri and Anna
hoped they’d finally grab some happy

I was at that opera…..with Emma Bovary
heard those voices …..felt their timbre

I delivered and sorted mail with Henry Chinaski
even got to the track a few times
bet hard on winning, placing, and showing

With Ishmael and Ahab…..aboard the Pequod
I felt the ocean’s spray
its cold
its way
its grip

Sometimes I don’t need much either
Not even people
Buck and Spitz are fine company

I cringed and tightened my jaw
when Dante and Virgil
took the ferry to hell

One time I got lost, too
it was late and I stopped by the woods
on the snowing evening
even though it was hot outside
over 80 and summer
I saw those woods fill up with snow
I swear I did
I heard the flakes pile atop one another
even made a move for my comforter
pulled it up to my jaw
and it was miles and miles before I fell asleep too

Sometimes I can still hear Louis Armstrong’s
“Black and Blue” on the phonograph,
even pick up on the burn off all those light bulbs

Next week, I think I’ll hike Kilimanjaro
and listen to an enormous radio

I think I’ll dance with Brett and drink with Jake
laugh with Montresor
and cry with Madame Loisel

Mom says I got no friends…..no one to play with
but that ain’t true
I got them on the shelves
and on the floor
in my drawers…..and on the bed
burning in my brain
tingling in my blood
and pounding

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