Day 118 – A Life to Spare

Promise yourself you’ll only do
today’s work

Keep yourself to this
and you won’t have
no trouble sleeping

Keep yourself to this
and you will have
a life to spare

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Day 63 – Saturday Nights

Saturday nights
with gunfire in the background
a bed full of paperwork
typing and typing
and counting
the days ’til Christmas
the days ’til this program is over
the days ’til my body has healed
the days ’til all this work has paid off

Saturday nights
with Chinese takeout
Mucinex and the TV remote
Dwight Schrute and a grading pen

One day I’ll be taking my vitamins again
drinking water and hitting the gym
visiting museums
contributing socially

instead of writing snot-filled poems
and sinking to sleep

Day 48 – The Night Guard

Protector of the infantry
from their own scraping blades-
no more falling
on your sword
in your sleep-

the night guard
is here
to defend.

I sell it to myself
on the drive home
from the dentist-

the closest to truly brave
I’ll ever get.

Day 41 – An Awful Long Way

I wonder how many
suicides
are the accidental result
of exhaustion

Took a nap
on a train track
a windowsill

Sometimes I can’t help
but rest my eyes
a few seconds
on the road
home from work…

Maybe nobody wants
to die
we just get more rest
than we ask for

Maybe a little sleep
could go an awful
long way

Day 28 – Price

If the price for poetry
is the process continued
long into sleep
where it’s cruelly twisted
then
I will write about you
no more.

But if the price for sanity
is the opening of scars
as many times as necessary
into long nights
then
I will keep writing you
’til you’re gone.

Day 25 – Fighting It

I am a toddler drifting,
face down in a plate of
spaghetti-

no more poems
’til tomorrow,
please.

I am a teacher sinking,
deep down into couch
cushions-

no more words
’til tomorrow,
please.

I am one eyelid propped,
squinting one last glimpse
and another-

one more check
to cash tomorrow,
please.