Somewhere or was it sometime when I was twenty, one, two, five,
somewhere in that decade of fog,
when on the edge of some midnight and an encroaching dawn,
in the midst of smoke and empty bottles,
the music gone flaccid
the air deflated
I made promises to no one in particular.
Somewhere or was it sometime in the decade of dyed hair and pierced skin,
tables and chairs,
drowning in words:
HST, Henry Miller, and Bukowski.
Broken, blind men leading the blind
into some hedonistic heaven.
with no fear
of edges and misdirected hope.
I followed without the need for anything
as abstract or useless as success.
Somewhere or was it sometime in the decade of amateur love,
loneliness and broken hearts,
in beds with strangers and friends
waiting for the dawn,
hands between legs
breasts and flesh
minds lost in ether.
Every word I whispered I believed true,
lost in my own mind,
I brought you in
and promised to get us back out
Somewhere or was it sometime in the decade of dropping out
when my mother called your mother and cried.
Asking where she had gone wrong.
Driving all night from San Diego to San Francisco
searching the miles and the darkness
for a place to belong. A home. A love. Some answers.
Only to get lost on barstools on Sundays
and chicken pox alone in the rain. Bones shivering
another bum on the Muni.
Somewhere or was it sometime in the decade of car crashes,
hospital rooms, so close to death it just made sense
to cross over—
on one of those nights I told you
I didn’t plan on making it passed thirty-six:
what would be the point I proclaimed?
(The brash audacity of youth a thunderclap)
If I’m alive passed forty, I will have failed somehow,
is how the thinking went in those days.
Somewhere or was it sometime in the decade of my youth
I never imagined these quiet Sunday afternoons,
where the darkness has been carefully
closeted waiting to be observed like a carnival show.
The rich embers glowing like blood on fire
molten in their heat
simmering just beneath the surface—
the occasional spark,
reminds us of