for a long time I used to go to bed early

or at least too early
it seemed
to the disconnected denizens
who populated my rambling old boarding house in Berkeley

shared my home
and stayed up late
into the dark howling hallways

the cats
and the sharp chicks

Officer John and Jailboy

and the Mystery Shrouds
who only answered questions
with other questions
or, inexplicably,
the names of vegetables

Who goes there?
Parsley! and Rhodash Root!

it was because I never slept well
that I slept so much
in that room that wasn't a room
but more
an alcove off of a room

Neal would eye me courteously to be sure
as I stepped carefully
over his manuscripts
to my bed
assiduously trying not to spill the syrup from my cup
onto his scattered masterworks

other times he would be having sex with himself
and then he would only huff and whistle
as I slunk through

and still my dreams screamed tubers:
What will they buy? How will they die?
Radish Apocalypse! and Sugar Beet Pie!

Dante took drugs
Denise dove down stairs
Edward and Aki had sex on the chairs

Cherry and Charlie and
Naked Renee draped the attic in sheets
and still live there today

the Unknown Wailer
decrying box scores
and government plots
in an Australian accent

awakened me in a sweat
to his swearing beneath my pillow

what changed
when I finally got out of there
I was driving
my Chevy
through the intersection of Bacon and Greyhound
one morning on my way to work

it wasn't a bright flash
of light
the kind that religious people see

or the thundering voice from the tops of buildings

no I just thought
suddenly it was obvious:
"I'm living with assholes"

wipe me gone

JD Frey -- April 18, 1999



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