Next to hope

Maybe if i were younger. if i were bitter. if i wore the tattoos of a criminal and the scars of illicit season. if i were thin and drawn and my words came out in stereo screams, lackluster and pleading for isolation. understanding. unadultered as the light that shines at the heart of the abyss (you'll see, i'd say. you'll count your failures in the end and i'll be laughing again like i did before my dad left [or was my mother bleeding (or was it me the whole time drawing circles in the sand waiting for someone to catch my precious little meaningless, meaningless message and say he's a genius. he's a prophet. he's a monster better left to die unmentioned again except by children huddled by the ghost fires, crying]) because it looks back. we all know that).

If i didn't lead the night past that last good idea telling you all about bruce springsteen who i never liked until the time i saw him once with danny and i wept when he left to get more beer. if i didn't want you to sing along to every guitar. if i didn't want you to love something as desperately as i have. as i do. as i will until the day my unkept fingers are pried from a folded photograph. two lovers stunned. kissing. mugging. howls from under the wonder wheel.

Maybe then you'd listen. maybe you'd give a shit. maybe i'd be the vogue that sneaks bumps to a midget in the back of the bar with a necktie drawn on his t-shirt and a habit grown just to kick and fatten later to a fistful of all the right accolades i'd memorialize in sanskrit on the nape of my neck.

But then i'd be a joke. i'd be a product of the grist that kills our soft young kings.

And i just can't.

I am a man of reckless invention. i am mistakes and i am shame. i am restless nights and chicken legs and i am happy when you ask me. i am. even if i sneer or stutter or slur what i am trying to say. even if it's all fog and delusions. even if it's purple, borrowed, abused. it is earnest. it is true.

And it's imperfect, all right.

It is mine.