As the broken/sputtering '75 Malibu that is age carries me
across the battlefield/the years and choices take their toll.
Some weeks I must choose between a haircut and a loaf of bread.
Some weeks it’s the choice between bus fare and deodorant.
There are times when it’s a toss-up between whether or not I
can go another week without doing laundry/calculating if there
are enough pairs of underwear good for a second use without
giving myself jock itch.
Coins are a precious commodity.
Daily I’m faced with these decisions which may explode/ruining
the rest of my week or month if I make the wrong move/take the
Do I have another drink when I need to be awake in four hours for
work? Do I tell the people in line at the grocery store what I really
think about them? Their pudgy appendages flail/their baskets and
carts filled with another clogged artery/preserving their obesity.
Good decisions are kept in a mason jar under a loose floorboard in
the bedroom along with the gas masks. When the toxic results of
my irresponsibility permeate/I’ll be ready.
All I have now is preparedness.
I learned too late in life what sets off the tripwires/incurring the
wounds and scars of explosives triggered. A life weighed down by
anxiety and depression will not travel.
The dawn is on the horizon.
The bloodshed will end soon enough.
A Walk Through Old-town
These streets remind me of my roots/my threadbare
origins/especially now that I’ve been drawn
back once again. By your thirties you’ve either
decided to abscond and stay gone or die two
miles from the hospital where you were born. I
haven’t decided either way/making me a hometown
anomaly even though I hold disappearance and death
equally in the highest regard.
Walking through these streets/these same old grounds
I’ve stomped in lifetimes past/I feel a different rhythm.
The usual rhythms persist/the trash and the piss flow/
but now it’s different somehow/a foreign familiarity.
My jobs have changed as often as the storefronts in Old-town/
running on empty/seeking more lucrative opportunities elsewhere.
In this economy there is no elsewhere/each town/each city/
each company operating on skeleton crews/paying peanuts.
Living with your parents after a decade of freedom can be its
own purgatory/its own punishment for not having a degree.
Their furniture hasn’t changed/though my bedroom is now an
office/making me long for disappearance or death.
I’ve been learning to tie a noose.
My lunch break must have lapsed and yet my feet refuse to
guide me back to work. The fresh air and breeze are more
hospitable than the stuffy confines of Grocery Outlet any day of the week.
"Alex has toiled away in the relative obscurity of minimum-wage jobs and underground comics since 2009. Currently he is working on his first novel, with short stories and poems recently appearing in or forthcoming from the likes of Drunk Monkeys, The Round-Up Writer’s ‘Zine, Hobo Camp Review, and Yellow Chair Review. Alex's feature, Decades of (in)Experience, runs weekly on the Antix Press website. Bread Crumbs from the Void, Alex’s column on the masochistic practices involved with writing, appears most Wednesdays on Five 2 One Magazine.
Visit him at http://alexschumacherwriter.com/."