Needle (Skip)

Now that you’re gone I can listen to James Brown
all I want. I feel good. Like a sex machine.
So self-contained. So better off.
I used to think I couldn’t live without you,

now I’m without you like I never really lived with you around.
Some nights I waltz the karaoke room
watching others do the same and finding smiles
could be everywhere when you’re looking for it,

close enough so home is everywhere, is singular,
is getting something out of life
this way, I go about it,

having enough money for cab rides
always. Splitting 12 packs
and staying under blankets
when I don’t. I used to think

it could only be in the backseat
on the way home from casinos
where you had no money to gamble,

in the pillows and unwashed pillowcases
you kick at with your sleeping feet,
the dream, which was, and always has been,
if you go, it all goes, and because

I’m putting on Exile in Guyville, again,
and pulling my hair back into the bar light,

it’s since I know you hate these things,
I’ve kept them
in the darkness in the corners
of another Thursday night—

Previously appeared in Yes, Poetry Magazine

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One thought on “Needle (Skip)

  1. I like the way the emotions don’t go neatly in one direction in this poem. The feelings seem to head one way then stop suddenly and pick up somewhere else. Very cool..

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