Don’t Take The Money

I’m having a late night dialogue with myself
among cheap sheets
listening to cheap ventilation pump bad air through small rooms
in a corner of the world devoid of the things that make getting out of bed
a worthy pursuit.

I ask myself, “why?”
I question choices
I backtrack through memories for reasoning and alibis
as to why I got myself into this
as to why I forced myself into this antithesis of myself
in some vain attempt to mature and grow
and pay the bills.

And there!
in that last thought!
As I flip a cheap pillow
in search of vague comfort that won’t be found by a body
that doesn’t want to find comfort
is the answer to my questions.

I’m doing this to pay bills
I’m doing this to keep a marginalized side of my life alive and kicking
and this job is an iron lung for the parts of life
I never really thought all that interesting
and this job is medical equipment that I can’t simply unplug from
now that its fluids course with mine.

No matter how much desire rankles me
and tells me to run for an open stretch
of road that looks like an oasis
I still

If I could go back
to times before this
and talk to myself
“don’t take the money” would be a mantra:
a mantra for a fridge post-it note
a mantra to tattoo on my forearms
and to write with my tongue on the thighs of lovers
so as to never forget it even in moments of bliss.

it’s too late now
for advice tossed back into time
to the un-listening ears of a younger self.

So I am doomed to cheap sheets
and cheap pillows
in a small room
in a place I loathe
with a job that no longer snaps the live wires of my brain.

And even an answer to my questions
still doesn’t give me
a way

But I roll over again
and utter out loud
a hopeful

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