Making My Own Acquaintance
I used to smoke, crave it, enjoy it.
Now it’s something people do
who are ambivalent about life,
not sure if they want to live or die.
I used to drink a lot.
It was the high and low of my day.
Now it’s what people do who are in pain.
Their pain has taken on a life of its own
and needs to be fed and cared for
like a lost soul they’ve brought home from the bar.
I used to feel sad and needed that sadness
to have something to escape from
because without it I’d be left alone
experiencing an uncomfortable silence
with a stranger.
In bed, prolonging the moments
before pushing back the covers.
The voice on NPR, a reporter in Afghanistan,
refers to the spring fighting season
as if he’s announcing the opening
of ski season at Mt. Hood Meadows.
I brush my teeth, minty fresh, extra whitener.
Death tolls from suicide bombings.
Toweling off after showering, it’s total US casualties,
a number that could be the population figure
of a small city. A city of dead young men and women.
The refreshing lather lifts my beard
as my triple bladed razor shaves my face kissable smooth.
Tell me again why we are there while I am here.
Raud Kennedy is a writer and dog trainer in Portland, Oregon. To learn about his most recent work, Portland, a collection of short stories, please visit www.raudkennedy.com