VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Damian Ward Hey

I Got You

(Addiction’s Lullaby)

While I’m here, Motherfucker,

and you got your jack up going,

let’s get something straight.

Your momma don’t own your ass.

Your daddy don’t own your ass.

Your old lady don’t own your ass.

Your old man don’t own your ass.

Your landlord don’t own your ass.

Your boss don’t own your ass.

Your job don’t own your ass.

Your pimp don’t own your ass.

The government don’t own your ass.

The IRS don’t own your ass.

Bank of America don’t own your ass.

The policeman don’t own your ass.

The Office of Corrections don’t own your ass.

Life don’t own your ass.

In fact, don’t even God own your ass.

And if even God, His Almighty Self,

don’t own your ass,

ain’t no fucking way you do.

So, guess who owns your ass.

That’s right, you nod-off motherfucker – I do.

I own your ass.

And I’m the kind of motherfucker

leaves you to drown

face-down in your own puddle of

piss, sweat, and I-don’t-give-a-fuck.

Fuck with me, I’ll rot your skin off,

no matter what the fuck color it is.

You understand?

Alright, then. 

There we go.

Ok.

Now, you just rest into it, baby.

Like I said –

I got you.

Pax Vobiscum

There were no people at the laundromat,

or on the street, or hanging around the corner bodega,

or loitering in front of the liquor store.

There were no long-used cars behind the church,

waiting for shuffling old men and old women to return;

there were no children wearing uniforms and book bags,

chasing each other around in the school playground;

there were no small groups of cold men,

clustered together in the parking lot

in front of the orange home-improvement retail store;

and there were no pick-up trucks, offering a day’s work,

paid in cash money, under the table,

and off the books. 

There were no people at that crack house in Wyandanch.

The fixing crew had been by and done what it could,

so we spent the day working in the yard. 

As day grew on,

we found the frozen body of a dead cat

stuck to the patio stones.

We scraped it up with a snow shovel

and dumped it into a thick, black garbage bag

which we left out on the curb for special pick-up.

And when we tied the bag shut, the last thing we saw

were the bones of the half-decayed cat skull

grinning up at the sky through the ice and leaves.

I see Love hanging out at the food court

I see Love hanging out at the food court

at the ass end of the mall

and think,

Wow – Love looks like shit!

The old man was right to badger you, Agathon –

you overdressed dandy.

Sure, your heart was in the right place,

but you couldn’t possibly have been more wrong:

Love is not beautiful, youthful, or wise.

Quite the opposite, in fact:

Love is a ragged person without a home,

digging around in the trash,

looking for thrown-away, half-eaten hamburgers,

begging young people for change,

and being a general pain in the ass.

I see it, first-hand:

the ugly incarnation of desire,

barely recognized, but unmistakable.

Why

does something catch

as I look away?

Why,

when I look back,

is the beggar gone?

Pain

When called

to wander through you, Pain,

we play

that game we invented.

I’ll ask

“How do you justify faith?”

You’ll answer,

“The wronged body.”

Then, I’ll ask,

“How do you fortify spirit?”

And you’ll reply,

“The gut of time.”

All along,

you’ll infer the pitch of my questions;

while I

gauge where your responses will land.

And when

the game is done, for the time being,

we’ll walk,

together, in silence, toward your horizon.

Or else,

you’ll leave me behind, at your nearest edge.

2 thoughts on “VOICES FROM THE FIRE: Damian Ward Hey

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