I was led to believe by now I'd be famous, or simply
Unemployed & incoherent with at least one healthy
Narcotics habit hiding in my past
Or up my sleeve.
This was before I knew how it felt to hold a man back,
Three stories up, he was determined to die
His eyes went blank & his feet were
Slipping on the ledge.I remember asking my mother what she wanted for her birthday.
She said, "I used to ask for good kids." But Mom,
You've got great kids! She smiled,
"Now, I just want honest kids."On Sunday mornings, my neighbors hurl beer bottles
Until they hurt. It's a weekly ritual attempting to prove
The American myth is alive & kicking with
A weak bladder & a bad liver.In a past incarnation, I stared at my reflection ’till
It went blind. I dreamt my lover covered me
In crushed lotus petals & called me Barabus.
I've never been to Disneyland.I'm not sure if I can scale the walls, but I was
Born in Detroit, where it's always possible to catch
A quick glimpse beneath your skin
Pulled back by a universe of pins.The rats ’round here get thick on last week’s garbage.
If you listen, you can hear them: Them humans
Are just as scared of you as you are of them.
Walk close enough
& they'll scurry away.
–Matthew Olzmann, Hamtramck