Wild Irish - 2
Lucky he hasn’t eaten in two days, the hobo thinks. There isn’t much shit to slurp out of him with that last kick. His pants are almost all brown now, sure, but more stains means more fester. “Fester,” he thinks, so close to “foster,” so close to boyhood, and what a joke, sitcking “care” afterwards, an afterthought. He had never been as good at picking pockets as Johnny had been, but Johnny had been good to him. He had taught well, rewarding with kisses down the stomach after sharing an ice cream cone on Sundays.
St. Dominic’s, where he’d tasted what life would feed him, and being there with Johnny, with Timmy, Scab, the Jangle-Fairy, its no-budget canned beans and sizeless sweaters.
St. Dominic’s, where he’d learned to take a beating, learned when to stop fighting and just take the fists and the bumming. Good practice for later, it’d been. Better to be broken in boyhood than wait too long. At least there, there were toys and picture books of armor and dragons, and beds with mattresses.
There is a chill coming. It pushes the trash around. Yesterday’s paper said it would get above 35 this week. He needs to hold out until the swelling gets too bad to walk with, until the shrinking stomach becomes a pit of a peach, until the frostbite turns his tips blacker than his hands already are. Then he can shoplift a bottle of Wild Irish and suck it down until the cops come. Then, three weeks of warm and steady meals.
The boy who stole his wallet looks at the hobo unblinkingly as his bus rolls away. The hobo starts rolling, too, to get a better look. He stops half way turned around, middle finger fused to his hand. Fuck. Twisted wrist. And at least one cracked rib. When the coughing fit starts, the rib is a lesion.
He is warmer than he should be. He falls back on his face and notices that the glass is all over the ground. His stomach is wet. The ground is wet. He feels for the rib, and it is not a rib poking through his stomach, it is half the bottle of Wild Irish. He rolls back to his back. His blood is thin from the liquor. He pulls, then pulls harder, like King Arthur in the library. There is a shrill scream, louder than even this neighborhood is used to. There are people around him, now, but their faces are blurry. He is not there, anymore.
The first time the blood the blood had come, with their come, with Johnny and Scab and the Jangle Fairy, half in his mouth, half in his ass, he’d blacked out, The hobo woke up in the infirmary with a bandage wrapped around his head, a plastic knight wrapped in his fingers, sword sticking out.
The nurse is standing over him. Her habit is muffled, the same grey color of the drapes. Her hand is over her chest. She is whispering a prayer to herself. The hobo doesn’t know how to look into any eyes. There is always judgement. He shrinks from her touch. “You poor boys,” she says. “You poor boys. What have you done to make God forget you?”
When I get new followers, usually I like to check out their blog - if anything, just to figure out what it is that we have in common that made them hit the ‘follow’ button.
So I got a few new followers in the last couple of days, and I go and check out ericboydblog. I’d never heard of Eric Boyd before now, but i’ve been scrolling through his blog for the better part of an hour now and I am in love with his six word poems and his prose and just…aahhh!
I’m on the verge of hyperventilating because I can’t figure out why he’s following me…he’s so amazing.
And to Eric - hello you c:
UntitledKenji Khozoei, reading by Eric Boyd
I woke up to my mother telling me there was another terrorist attack
and I said “where”
like it made a difference
then fell back asleep.
(Just let me keep dreaming,
just let me keep dreaming,
just let me keep dreaming.)
An eight year old boy has dreams, too;
he might dream of fields and footballs
or Batman and Robin
or dancing on stages
and making his mother proud.
(Just let him keep dreaming,
just let him keep dreaming,
just let him keep dreaming.)
This isn’t even a poem,
there is just a lump in my throat
and I’ve swallowed enough tumors
to forget my sickness,
steel shells of irony
like of course there was another terrorist attack,
(Maybe we’re all still dreaming,
maybe we’re all still dreaming,
maybe we’re all still dreaming.)
Images of open skulls
and pavements stained with blood
like final words graffitied upon
the walls of our conscience,
curved spines weighed beneath
grey skies soaked in tears
but even clouds of smoke
have their silver lining,
the stories of heroes
and of love and of courage
buried under the rubble
of a civilisation that is accustomed to
There is more good than evil in this world.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget that
and sometimes it’s just so painful to be reminded.
(Maybe I’ll always dream,
maybe he’ll always dream,
maybe we’ll always dream.)
So this poem that I wrote got read out on RadioTWC by Erid Boyd, which is super exciting and also quite humbling. Hearing someone else’s voice read and interpret your own writing is really cool and it also makes me want to start doing my own poetry readings.
Anyway, big thanks to Eric for doing this!
Due to a shit internet connection (I stream my show through unsecured wifi), I won’t be able to do my show, THE BROWN HAT, tonight.
I know that probably only a handful of people listen, but those folks still mean the world to me, so I’m sorry I cannot do tonight’s installment. I plan on coming back next week, Monday at midnight EST (or technically Tuesday if that’s how you roll).