Junior didn’t turn on fans in Summer, or coils in Winter.
He left lamps empty of bulbs and ate every other day.
Junior’s wall calendars still hung from a century ago.
His children took away his car keys and their mother
xxxdied years ago.
xxxJunior knew habits weren’t happiness;
so he shaved and dressed in his clothes his careless
xxxgrand children gave him on some Christmas, and
he grabbed all the cash hidden in his mattress:
Mostly quarters, but $9.50. He stuffed his bank account into his
xxxhis corduroy pants, and then tied his laces.
xxxThe closest bar was four miles of barking dogs
curious cops, blank street lights, and free to drive drivers.
Junior got to the bar, old and ugly, but safe.
His tolerance of solitude had shriveled. He craved
“Bartender, a pitcher, please.”
Junior dropped his baggie of loose change into a lake of lime juice; he
paid the tender, and got a napkin, a glass, and a bucket of brown frost:
xxxJunior poured and filled the fat frosted glass.
No one noticed the old geezer — he had to be a barfly.
Bitter mixture hacked at Junior’s taste buds:
xxxJunior drained his handsome glass.
His brain fat relaxed and gelled under his white old man hair.
He filled, and kissed his second glass;
his shirt accrued new spots and spats.
Junior’s old organs and big white gut were forgot:
three beers to the wind, he had begun to float!
Junior’s knees anchored under the bar’s lip;
he hiccupped, ignored sensation, and poured one more — that made four.
The bartender gave Junior his change, all pennies.
Junior slid it all back, “Gin and Tonic, please.”
His saddlebag hands poured more from the pitcher.
He bony posterior hovered an inch above his stool. He grinned: he saw the Gin.
xxxThe iced liquid filled his cheeks,
and pulled out the wrinkles on his face.
His legs flew back, knocking over a stool: Junior felt like an air bubble,
with his liver full, he began to feel like a balloon — Junior poured one last glass.
The real barflies and winos and rummies were
dug too deep into decadence to notice all this.
Junior’s left hand dug its nails under the bar counter, and
xxxupside-down, chugged the last urn of lager.
His legs: all veins and paste shot their heels to the bar’s rafters.
The ceiling couldn’t contain, he cubed his body
like a cannon ball, and left a crater in the roof.
xxxThe energies of experience
couldn’t ready Junior for this:
xxxcloud bound, Junior saw cars as
cracker crumbs and sesame seeds,
xxxhe chewed on cumulonimbus dust,
and danced on an airplane wings.
xxxHe began stripping in the stratosphere,
and hooted at astronauts. Junior
xxxhung his coat on the Hubble’s lens, then
shuffled across Armstrong’s foot prints, now
xxxthey won’t outlast Earth’s men and women.
He spun Soviet space probes like dreidels, and
tanned his cheeks on the sun’s surface.
Past all stars, and their lying astrology
where words Junior never wrote,
were written, and his thrown away paper airplanes
fly freely, and where meals that should have been better,
are better —
past countries of consumers, and
where, “I’m so sorry,” is never said,
where there’s no preferred photogenic “good side”—
free of the irresponsibility and contradictions
a 4-D solitude.
Back on earth, they’d all say,
“Junior fell off the wagon.”