City Drunks

Two men, not drunk.
Two men, not drunk.

The sun is on its throne,

The jesters are out

On cracked pavement,

Recently torn up

For one reason or another,

Tripping on the fissures

In the false earth.

Their skin is cooked,

Eyes buried in an avalanche

Of creased brows

And greyed shadows

Above parched lips

Recently wetted by

Bottles of fire water.

One stumbles and takes

To rest upon one knee,

His partner shuffling along

To assist in the continuation

Of their awkward travels,

Throngs of faceless beings

Swarming about like angry bees.

One adjusts his hat,

Clearing his throat to say nothing,

While the other examines

The scuffs on his pointed boots,

Adjusting his belt,

Gathering himself and his friend,

And moving forward.

Only recently they met,

And shared a few ounces

Of one another’s spirits,

Now they walk,

Arms on shoulders,

Down the only street in town

That really matters.

The night was thick enough

To choke the stars,

Only a few hours before,

Which called for a drink

Under a broken street lamp

Next to mounds of dirt and

Abandoned construction equipment.

The one heard the other,

Moans of unknown cause,

Rhyming reason into

Cacophonous folk lyrics

Which stirred images

Of better times on grassy steppes

With warmth and simplicity.

Under the lamp one said

He knew of a way to rekindle

The dying embers;

A portable time machine

That burns from the inside

Yet removes you from the city

While leaving your body behind.

They carried on as such,

Bellowing haughty condemnation

Of youth and modern machinations,

Kicking dust to cover the city

In what it should be,

Until the sun rose and flushed

The confidence from their souls.

Forward they march to

Frenetic drums on jazz tempo,

Time signatures jumping,

Careful and calculated

In their chaotic order,

This being the only state

Their minds can bear to stand.

Composed 08/23/2012

Author’s Note: To piggyback off of the previous post on alcohol and alcoholism in Mongolia, I thought I would post this. I saw two drunk men helping each other down the road outside of the bank one day. I had only been at my new site for about two weeks, and was still getting a feel for the city. Sometimes the social ills that trouble a community are very visible, and sometimes they aren’t. I often wonder about how these issues shape and affect the individual, and how their personal history is shaped by them.

Previous Posts

Alcohol and Alcoholism in Mongolia (Prose)

Valuable (Poetry)

Next Posts

Crossing the Threshold (Prose)

A Night Out (Poetry)

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