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April 21: Nobody important wins

Nobody important wins
on the reruns on the flickering set.
The room, still stain-smoked, after all
these shitty, new-law years. This bar
still remembers its adolescence,
when drinking and smoking
and fucking
was an after-work activity,
not just an after work activity
that sometimes you got to.
“Not all of us have jobs,”
said tattered jeans, “so we get to
after we wake up,
because sleeping is hard after
my life.” His beard moves
unattractively when he talks,
like his jaw is becoming
unhinged underneath
all the mats.

Suits and tattered jeans
and work/alcoholics nursing their happy hour specials
like children at the teat.

“I’d get to if I didn’t work,
but I got the wife and kids,”
sighed suit, “and they need too much.”
“Sleeping is hard after my life.
Need a nightcap to hold off responsibility,
barricade them away from my dreams.
Otherwise I’d have nightmares.”
That night, he has nightmares.

A glass is set down softly behind
their voices. It is dredged, like a diseased
lake, empty. There are no survivors except
a blue glow from the screen, bloodshot eyes, and
a “I’d rather Beer here” coaster,
diluted by the bottom of his glass.
“I am here always,” he says,
to himself, eyes flicking to the TV like
a hummingbird, less sure than wanting.
“I am here always,” he says,
“And I don’t sleep.”

Nobody important wins anything.

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April 19: Reverse psychology

Sure, you shouldn’t drink away your sorrows,
but what about drinking to welcome your sins?
Drinking to welcome you in,
like an entering omen,
she already told him,
“You will be bad for me.”

When she strings fake gold
on her gilded fingers, she shivers,
feels the cuts before the simmer
in his eyes, before the summer rolls on by,
before there was a reason to fly
when she hit him. She hit him. She flew. They were birds
on the ground.

The stubble on the tense sides of her head
is coarse on her fingers, when she runs them through, feeling
every strand, knowing every band from the jukebox,
knowing there is no reason to deny them,
she loved the feeling of flying,
the crying after the flying,
the flying. She loved the bruises
and cuts, and the door that he shuts
when he storms
into the sky.

thoughts strung together by arina kharlamova

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