I am twelve years old and stunned
that I will be an addict.
The progressive trajectory
laid out before me in the calm voice
of mothers everywhere who dress
their kids in plaid and get mad on
the weekends, lowering their
voices when they say words like
‘terrorist’ or ‘heroin’.
Sitting on a red bench,
staring at my ice cream cone
as it slowly drips onto the cracked
pavement. I see her pointing at
a homeless man who used to be
an astronaut but lost it all because
of ‘angel dust’ and apparently the devil
works in dangerous ways like that.
And that’s when I realize I’m fucked,
because if you can do something like
be an astronaut and get ‘stoned’ like Satan
or ‘Bob Dylan’ than I could easily
be something like a poet and run around
the streets naked and drunk and mumbling
about the righteousness of communism,
or get hooked on Xanax and Dadaism
in college ‘just like Grandma’.
I see the man I will become,
picking through the garbage
bleary eyed and high,
jeans stale with dried beer
and vomit stains,
I am bound for no other fate.
But I might not mind,
if I got to see the Earth from space.
by Tim Egan
welcome to the day after the revolution, the inhale
of dawn, the leather belt, the tired boots,
the wooden door you dream of that leads to
the life you’ve always imagined. Welcome to today.
The sea speaks no language but we need its noise
to fall asleep, its salt in our hair, its caress for comfort. It is
not the sweat and sex, the hot bed, the thin-thighed
romance that makes you believe in today. Not anymore.
It’s not the headache from the beer or the lips
licking or the smell of the bedspread at first light.
This is the sip of whiskey
you take before you launch yourself into space.
The void, the unknown, the promised land,
the wooden door, the sacred, the profound,
the word you pick to describe your face.
The grin that comes with knowing you know
nothing, you will not rise above, you will
not come down from the high, the universe
will not grant you superpowers or write all your
thoughts on the paper of history. Its ink is
tired, your love is faulty, your pants are old,
you should have shaved but you forgot, she should
have called but she forgot, you could have lived
but you just could never have thought. That all this
might mean something. That you would ever get
any evidence that something actually happened.
The dragonflies are dead, the door is open, the lips
of morning touch your collarbone, you are
waking up, you are putting the kettle on, you are
promising something about yourself. To yourself.
You clean the bathroom, you get Clorox on your shirt,
you sigh, you burn a candle down, you think about
the qualities of light, about your parents, smell the
chemicals on your hands, say something about youth.
You sing your praises, you kill the bugs in your brain,
you are tired, you are calm, you read an email from a
friend about being drunk on the subway, you feel the
texture of the words in your mouth. You build a house,
you knock it down, you call yourself Caesar, you have
a child, it knocks you around. You get skinny, you get fat,
you promise you’ll hang up the lanterns, turn the lights
off before you go to bed, make sure the coffee is made, print
out all the speeches for your funeral before you die. You lose,
you get used, you get high, you pass the time, you bite
your lip until it bleeds. Oh well. There is no heroin,
no ecstasy, no 3am call from the woman you love saying
she is sorry, no TV moment, no Joni Mitchell, no amnesty
for the crimes you committed or the sins you’ve admitted.
You are no longer young, the revolution is over, everything
has lost its ability to be touched. Talking is like trying to take
a picture of the horizon line. Like trying to draw God. Like
spreading jam on toast only to realize it’s gasoline. The bread is
in your mind, the kids have lost the time, everything is fuzzy
at the corners, the beetles are snoring, everyone’s drunk and
you’re left on the porch thinking about what was.
Now we clean up the gunpowder, now we sweep up the burned flags,
set bail for the folks in the Guy Fawkes masks who pissed
themselves in euphoria. We take the kettle off the stove, inhale.
This is not the apocalypse, not the
big-tomorrow-moment, not the cavalry, not the end. It’s
just another morning. Just your feet on the cement floor,
just your clothes laying on the floor. This is not the
moment you imagined, for some indefinable reason. It’s better.
By Tim Egan
Tim Egan is a 22 year old from a small town in Vermont. He has a dog
named Kazak. It is such a good dog. He has lived in Haiti and Uganda
and India. Tim, not Kazak. He enjoys reading. Sometimes he writes
music. If he had to be a kind of bear he would like to be a polar