Our fifth writing challenge is the first time the group jumps from prose to poetry.
Sean provided us a great background on different types of unreliable narrators, and a little pep talk to encourage the less-lyrical members that yes, we could in fact successfully write poetry. Let’s see if we have any future in poetry, or if Sean should switch to a career in motivational speaking.
At this point my body is ready to reject the coffee, or at least it’s stopped having any kind of affect on me staying awake.
I imagine my blood replaced withviscous black sludge, my heart pounding to move it through my veins.
Why I’m even trying anymore I’m not sure. Forty hours in this hospital room and dad’s barely been lucid.
The hypnotic whirs and beeps of equipment, watching him, ready to alert us all to the end, sings to me like a lullabye right now.
It’s not like we might have any meaningful exchange, so I’m not sure why I’m staying
I suppose not being comfortable is the least I can do, the only tribute I can give to you now. To say I was here and I acknowledge you, you who’s loved, screamed, fought, won and lost. You will not disappear without note.
To some degree we can suffer together, just like old times. I take another sip.
Cold and bitter by now, every leachable molecule pulled into the muddy stuff, every bit of caffeine pressed into nectar, into this ultimate cup, this multi-colored polka-dotted mug, this chalice for the end of an era, the beginning of my trudge through the coffee-less Mad Max world out there, the streets haunted by methamphetamine monsters, faces screwed into impossible smiles, they used to hack people’s IDs, now just scramble the crumby streets for some food or a fix, a tenner for passing by their alley hovels, their kingdoms of cardboard. Cars litter the streets, dogs gnaw on gnatty offal in the lawns, red in snout and jaw, lost to the viruses that apprehended our future, given to rabidity, like the rest out here. All but me. I won’t be here long, I guess. I should savor these lasts. This flat, before they find a crack by which to climb through, before I’m overrun, before they turn me to one of them, scabby demons they are. I’ve settled on self-infliction before these eventualities. I’ve settled on finishing these lasts first. The smoke swirls into the air, old tobacco staining my fingers, a small steel flask full of the dirty stuff, stinging the soon-to-expire innards of me, and this last bittersweet cup of coffee.
Starting tomorrow, I’m my own man
Wind whipped and huddled tight against granite
Waiting out the elements and the light change and wave upon wave of harried businessmen
I’m tired of sympathetic looks over the coffee counter from doe eyed baristas
Names like Rozlyn or Janice or Chantel
They pout and shrug at me as I recite the daily order
We’re comrades in demeaning labor, yet separated by the chasm of gratuity
But it ends today, this pumpkin spiced errand
Is my last
I’m a white-hot ball of overeducated repression
And I’m not taking soy chai requests anymore.
Elevator chime and I stride forth to meet my fate
Brad, unseen harpy from accounts payable, blocks my path
I dole out a soy macchiato with water cooler amiability and a jester’s bow
I tell you, next year, I’m leaving this place to see the world.