I Know You and You Know Me

To those who walk along the sidewalk with their head down, who mutter to themselves in dive bars about lost sons, who wander in the halls of mental hospitals, who have the balls to write about grief in poems and novels, who cry in the woods by themselves, who watch little league baseball games while pondering a gun to the head, who dance in broken-filled alleys and hope the thief will find them, who fight the whispers of death that plagues their every step,
Who are mentally ill and by god wish it wasn’t so.
To all those people…bear witness to one of your own.
Every day I fit the key into the lock
that opens the draws to all the weapons

Pistols, rifles, knives, pills…
All personal items of my own mass destruction.
Help? Sure, I need help…stranded in some tiny town where
the memories are fresh
But the scars are old…
                           so old.
And I sit next to my mother who still talks
to my dead father about the times they
courted in Millville…
Remembers his return from Korea and notices the Christmas tinsel that is
still entrenched in the 1968 carpet to carpet rug that lies
in the living room.
Yes…I’ve mentioned it many times before…
The walls are crumbling in on me///I’m afraid that
the call for me is near.
And when I’m found; hanging near my old grammar school…
or a bullet through my head in the back of Pete’s Bluebird Bar and Grill,
Don’t bury me in the family plot or sing songs in my memory.
Just smile
A sad smile maybe…
and call it what it is…
a very quiet, tender man once lived here…but found existence a chore…a daily war.
That in the end, he just could not win.
That’s all.

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