I hadn’t been home long enough to take a shower
& there came a pounding on the door & I knew only too well
Who it was and he was the last person in the world I wanted to see.
I answered the door.
“Ah Heartache my old friend,” I said,
“Come in you, son-of-a-bitch, come on in make yourself at home.
You know your way around, there’s beer in the refrigerator.
“I gotta grab a shower.”
He didn’t say a word but headed for the Hotpoint refrigerator
Next to the Frigidaire gas stove.
I got in the shower and washed off the grime from the roofing job,
I’d hated for the last month. One more week and that would be done.
Then hopefully the rains would start; I’d be off with unemployment checks
Until an editing job promised me, turned up in January
& I could get some of my own writing done,
Without worrying about the wolves at the door
Although this guy and his friends were worse than wolves
I got out of the shower and there he was with his feet propped on my coffee table
Watching the six o’clock news. He had gone through one sixteen ouncer
& was well into his second —I’d been expecting him
But was wishing he’d gone back to California where he belonged
“Looking kind of down in the mouth,” I said.
“Been with that bitch Envy again haven’t you?
What? And her sister Passion as well.
You sick bastard
That’s what I’ve always admired about you.”
I finished drying my hair and zipped open another tall boy.
I just sat there eyeing the tube with as much attention &
Chagrin at the commercials as he gave Tom Brokaw.
I wanted him out of the apartment but felt some strange
Premonition he needed to be there,
Then there came another knocking at the door.
I answered & there stood
Misery in Friday night togs looking like an escapee
from a disco pogrom years ago.
“Yeah, I might of known it would be you,” I told him as I opened the door.
“Come in it seems I’ve got some company you’re gonna love. The beers are where they stay cold.”
And it wasn’t three minutes before there I was with both of them on my couch,
Drinking my beer and arguing about the Baseball strike.
Misery was immediately on the side of the owners & caps,
Allowing as how he’d never made even one percent of average players salary
While old Heartache lashed into the right to collectively bargain
& protection under anti-trust laws & how Misery’s one percent
Was because he’d never worked longer than three months his life
& couldn’t do anything other than complain well.
I bought out three cans of oily sardines and a bag of chips
before they got around to yelling for food.
I’d scarcely gotten the hosting job done when a banging started at the back door.
“Who the hell could this be now?”
I made my way back through the rubble of beer cans
on the back porch with its idle fishing poles
& the washing machine that never worked
& there he was—his left shoulder facing me
& looking up into the sky bright almost neon
Twilight of October’s bright changing colors solemnly turning gray
“Loneliness, you bastard,” I grumbled.
“At least you brought beer,” I told him,
I made my way back into the apartment
Loneliness shuffling in behind me.
“Look who’s here boys,” I yelled
As I went for another one my beers before they were all gone.
I knew Loneliness brought the beer the least money can buy.
Every three months with the change the seasons it seemed
He abandoned whatever twelve-step he was in
& ended back on my back porch with the cheap beer
I made my way back into the living room & they all were making
More noise without saying anything, than Howard Cosell ever did,
Arguing about Self-Pity and whether he was going make it back into town.
“That’s all I need,” I said out loud, “is to have that creep show up tonight.”
I then made a mental note not let him in if he did.
When I discovered that there was nowhere to sit, I took the floor
In front of the tube and they’d switched on a two month old golf tournament
Where a baseball game should have been, &
I knew it was going to be a bad night.