when loneliness meets hope in a shit shack

I don’t talk about this part of my life
very much
let alone write about it.

for some time,
I was living in a series
of awful, shitty places.
didn’t have much choice.
each one became worse
than the one before it,
but I became more accepting.

one place was a good sized room
it had a cot with a half inch mattress
a blanket
and a wooden box nailed to the wall
for me to put my shit in.

I really crawled into myself there
didn’t talk to anyone
it was just me
that is where I fell back in love with reading
I was reading a lot of classics
a lot of Poe
read and re-read Frankenstein 100 times.

I didn’t have any money
and when I did get some
it went to staying alive there
dry ramen noodles and instant coffee.

I dried out there.
no smoking either.

I had found a old porno mag
and had glued pictures from it on the
wall next to my bed
with toothpaste.
I had all these beautiful naked women
circa 1973
smiling at me on crinkled paper.

I was still alone.
I had wonderful and ridiculous thoughts
while I was there.
I thought if I could find a corpse
I could reanimate it!
I had no science background at all
but it seemed so easy in the book.
I just figured I would tape a metal stick
to the corpse’s hand and shove it in the light socket.
Then I would have a friend.

I looked for a couple days for a corpse
but came up empty handed.
Then one night, I saw a rat
run along one of the walls
on the far side of the room.
I would wait and wait to see them but they rarely
came out while I was awake.
I thought if I could catch one
I would make it my friend
it would love me.

I found a cardboard toilet paper tube
I slid it into one of my dirty socks.
I ripped off a thin strip of my bed sheet
then poked a hole in the tube
and one near the top of the sock
I slid the strip through it and tied it off
I dropped a piece of stale bread into the sock
and tied the other end of the strip to my
index finger of my left hand.

I got in bed
let my arm hang off of it
and placed the tube along the wall
once they hear me sleeping, I thought,
they will run out here and eat the bread
I will feel it
and pull the sock up.
I will have a friend
and I won’t be alone.

every night
I would sleep
peacefully.
never waking up until morning
and each morning
the stale bread would be gone.
the sock would be empty.
I would set the trap and try again
the next night,
going to sleep with a smile on my face.

the reason I didn’t kill myself there
was because each night I was full of hope.

I never caught a rat
and a few months later
I was gone from that shit hole
to bigger and better problems.

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