A reading by Homeless, from his new book Please Buy This Book So I Can Feel Validated & (Finally) Love Myself, out now from House of Vlad. Listen, read and buy the book!
The Corpse of the Child You Used to Be
Do you ever close your eyes & feel
the corpse of the child you used to be
floating face down in the murky,
ice cold lake behind your eyes?
& aside from somehow tying his ankles
to the cinder block-weight of everything
I’ve been forced to hold in since he died
I don’t know how
to get rid of him
The Housing-Impaired Man
A bird swoops down out of nowhere,
flying so low it sets a collision course
with the face of a housing-impaired man
who’s walking down the street.
The housing-impaired man sees
the bird coming & stops in the middle
of the sidewalk. He holds out his arms.
He closes his eyes & opens his mouth
as if inviting the bird inside but,
at the last second,
the bird swoops up,
skimming his head,
then flies back into the sky.
The housing-impaired man
carefully opens one eye.
Then the other.
He looks for the bird but can’t find it
& with a sudden flat tire-expression
he continues north
passing by as I continue south,
suddenly feeling disappointed,
wondering if any of us
ever get what we
The young girl sitting in front of me
dipped her fry into her orange soda
& then ate it.
I didn’t actually see her soda
I just knew it was
from the childhood-way she dipped
her fry into her cup.
I thought to myself mournfully, unable
to remember the last time my eyes
saw such a beautifully honest/
This world is going to eat her alive.
Except it’s not going to dip her
in orange soda
The Smoke of Him
Looking at the housing-impaired man
fast asleep in his sidewalk master bedroom
is like watching a liquor store
in a neighborhood with bars on all the windows
slowly burn to the ground.
The hundreds of pedestrians
walking down the street,
the smoke of him,
continuing on into
their cellular lives.
I kinda knew him. He was
a housing-impaired artist
who made collages out of
magazines he stole from
a Walgreens down the street.
He hands looked like deflated
black elephants holding fistfuls
of loose change & I could tell
from the bent crowbar-angle
of his mouth,
as well as the exaggerated way
he put his hands on his cheeks
after buying his $1 cup of
kind of like Macaulay Culkin
in the poster for Home Alone
but without the scream,
that he was just so tired of paying
for everything in exact change,
of always having just enough
or never enough.
I wished I could’ve bought him
a $2 cup of coffee
but he & I were the same—
just two claustrophobic moths
trapped in the empty velcro wallets
of our own poverty.