I wake up in the rocking chair at sunrise,
the front of my raincoat sticky with crumbs.
My head throbs like a bass amp, suggesting
I’ll soon be receiving another message
in the form of a microbe.
I search for caffeine with the cold focus of a shark,
but we’ve already blown this week’s wages
on a few sticks of firewood and some buttered pasta.
Nights in this flat are so frigid I suspect
we’ll survive only by setting our hair ablaze
as broken moths batter the panes in hopeless prayer.
This is our garden. In need of weeding.
This is the flabby patrimony passed to us
by fathers who slid out the door when no one was watching.
So despite mama’s precautions,
here we are — the knights of Haight —
swearing oaths facedown in the dirt.
We wager cigarettes we don’t have over hands of euchre.
I bet my crutches on a sure thing — and lost —
as if you could vacuum a diamond out of this filthy carpet
or pan up gold in the open tank of our noisome toilet.
There’s no one watching over us now (except the crows)
and if you plan to stay, brother, trust me:
just keep your jacket on at all hours.
It's warmer that way, and you never know
when we'll have to make a swift exit.