3:30 Serenade

Sleep's a stranger this night
Cars grumble as they stalk 
Clammy roads painted street light orange
Papa Moon shines sallow behind wispy clouds
Stars are all hiding

Feral cat perched on a fetid trashcan
Eyeing you with a quiet desperation
Same look you get from the neighbor in the hall
Both in the market
Neither wanting what you're selling

Wind cuts deep tonight
Slicing you down to the core
Pull from the bottle
Pray for the belly fire
Sigh when it's not enough

Smoke dances hurricanes in the night
Mingling with the heavy laundry exhaust
And you spit out cinders
Knowing you're losing a piece of yourself
One drag at a time

Graveyard chill creeps up your spine
Your shoulders go heavy
Your legs go stiff
You stand in that endless night
Locked in the 3:30 Serenade

To Kent

To the sailor walks home from long nights at the bars,

To the douchey hipsters and their dollar PBRs.

To the bros at the House with their jaws made of glass,

To the skank on the ice who fall flat on her ass.

To folks on the prowl with amorous desperation,

To guys on the corner with suspect occupations.

To the Zephyr and Rays, the Gyro and Stone,

To the chick in the theater textin' on her phone.

To the Bad Idea Bears convincing us to swim,

To a pint o' Guinness filled to the brim.

To unmaintained streets and fucking potholes,

To the guy in the park who bared me his soul.

To yelling at trains and singing the Storm,

To mocking our friends who still live in the dorms.

To Waltzin' Matilda one drunken night,

To breakin' with Liz after one brutal fight.

To the memories gained,

To the roots I have sewn.

To the City of Kent,

The place I call home.

Black Friday in Charlottesville, Virginia, 2011

That nervous nicotine need is settin' in,
Makin' my whole body feel like one raw nerve
Rubbed down with broken glass.
Two days to go before cigarette serenity,
But first I gotta get through this Black Friday.

I see a boy boundin' through the byways of a big box store,
Cartoon pajamas just as grayed as his grimy bare feet.
Short time later,
I saw a similarly pajama-clad teenaged girl screamin' after him.
She's too young to be his mother,
And I'm sure that's just what she's thinkin'.

Another store.
I see well-off suburbanites lookin' for culture
In $20 art reproductions of plastic fruit and plastic actresses 
Who still managed to expire anyway.
The frames are flimsy, saggin', inconsequential pieces
Of faux wood sheened with toxic chemicals.
Seems only appropriate.

I'm in some food court of some mall
And I see some wrinkled octogenarian
Putter around in some battered walker with two neon-green tennis balls on the feet.
Bitter bones and rheumy eyes ain't gonna keep this guy from Black Friday.
Too bad no one wants to give him a seat.
Why can't this place have a bar?

I see the faces of the people in the stores.
Employees' eyes are haggard and hollowed,
Burnin' beams of contempt into the skulls of everyone in attendance.
In the customers I see only empty exuberance and delirious desire.
They have a mission.
They have a goal.
But they sure ain't gonna fill that hole.
Not even at 50% off.