Uncle Bugs, #30222

Sitting in living rooms, or the back of your hearse
playing guitar and fantasizing about
Georgetown and Yale, perhaps even Harvard--living
in Mendocino (but you really wanted
New Mexico) under someone else's
identity, then your own, rotating women,
growing pot in the back yard and making
a fortune selling bootleg vinyls...

The morning you touched your third wife for the last time--
cozy warm fingers caressing icy flesh--
not that you did anything (and I was too young
to understand)-- but what you plead
explained very little to juries-- they messed you up
in one sentence, after you spent years preparing
for this lifetime tucked away from the world, practicing
screwing up "things" (and yourself) to the wall.
All your little worlds collided into one
on some day in 1981-- the way
you must remember everything-- how could you not?
All you owned crammed into a storage unit
grasping artifacts preserving that life-- God knows what--
papers, licenses, passports, when you were
Scott, John, Steve, or Burke-- all the evidence multiplied,
destroying you.
How dreaded the days are for you now,
absorbed in bar-bound law libraries
most people don't even know exist--
how many could guess that you would ever
be the same neurotic mind in and out of courtrooms...
and you're always shifting uneasily in your plastic seat
during visits from your most current lady friend, full of
You knows and Well, I knew thats--why can't I just
be 5 again, playing with my little green
stationwagon and listening to you sing
"On The Road Again," strumming your best friend
while Mama and your beloved mother
stay in the dining room discussing your life,
the ugly turn down the wrong road gets blamed for this--
"circumstantial evidence"-- they used
John, Burke, Scott, or Steve
against you-- and the regret in your eyes
flecks slightly between the dangerous life aching
to get out. The hope is that before tomorrow
you will be free.

Tuning out your voice on phone lines
tormented by static,
never saying anything too private
for fear of laughter being mistaken for a
plan of escape, and
how many times have you said... telling me
the same things hundreds of thousands of times,
it is difficult to listen, but easier
to hear your despair in countless apologies about the stupidity
of your mistakes, though these will never change, and these days
you never have to grow up.

I now believe why you are where you are--
your mysterious fantasy world captured you in bars,
holding secure your diminishing sanity.
As you dream away your days, pretending
you'll get parole any day now,
I wonder what truly keeps you smiling
as you wait in anguish, like a tranquilized caged animal--
or a bomb--
waiting to explode.

 

1998-2000 linda lee tritton


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