Fuck your deadlines. Fuck your editors. Fuck friends. Fuck responsibility. Fuck living long. Fuck getting up in the morning. Fuck writing the big things. The wine bottle is rising from between your legs like a dark-glassed lighthouse and you laugh, your teeth slop red-black of wine and crooked smile.



With late winter comes spiders in your synapses; skittering down brain tubes to eat at happiness, ideas, sex drive, energy, ambition, passion—youth gone shriveled and frozen like rock gravel crunching beneath your sneakers and you're walking to that mine that killed your great-grandfather, black-lunged Pennsylvania coal mine, its mouth empty and fanged, and its throat runs straight down.



Shadowed reapers crouch on wheelbarrowed mine tracks or lie lurking in mine cars, phantom great-grandfathers, black-eyed, Slavic, square-faced, gray-haired, beckoning with crook of finger saying, "Have a drink with me, kid. What's taken you so long?"



She goes distant in January.



"You haven't been happy in months," she says.



"I don't know what's wrong with me," you say.



"I feel like a bird in a cage," she says.



"Nothing I once loved makes me happy anymore," you say.



"You need to go to the doctor," she says.



"I feel like I'm losing it," you say.



"We need to get out of this city," she says.



"I feel like I've got a demon in my head," you say.



"What do you need me for anymore?" she says.



"I feel like I'm already dead," you say.



"You're so selfish," she says.



"Don't leave me," you say.



"I feel like getting in a car and driving away," she says.



Don't leave me, don't leave me, you don't leave me, don't you leave me, don't leave.



At night, at clubs and bars, you drink with friends. They buy you drinks because your name is in the magazines they read. But she's off with the older kids across the club, in the back of the bar, the ones who've figured it out … while you seek the dark spots and rotting, doomed faces destined to grow old and sit in hospital beds connected to tubes and wires, yellow piss bags, sludged shit, coughing a paint can rattle, wondering if it was worth it and whether they could've done better.



You go home and drink more. Drink 'til everything goes muffled and warm and good and you sing to yourself and rock happy and alone on the couch.



Then comes chill of dawn with light over purple hills to the east and you pull the covers back up; your face is a swollen mess.




With spring comes a thaw of her heart. She's driving you to go wild, to be good and be crazy. You're fighting it though, eating the pills Dr. Chang gave you, but faking happy every night. She knows it's not working. And you read religious text—the Bible, Koran or fictionalized tales of End Times, Thich Nhat Hanh, giddy Buddhist koans, Krishna, book of Mormon, the Torah.



You look for something to lead you from the dark. You wear the pants and sweaters and shirts of an old man. You shake your pill bottle and toss it in your jacket pocket. Your muscles fade and flesh falls off the bone, drops like fruit gone to rot.



She tries one last time, singing the old songs, singing, "Come away with me. I've already quit that job. We'll finish off the bottle and the agaves too. Take a look around; everybody is sad as you. All we need are Dos Gusanos this afternoon" and you're fading fast.



You hold her hand as you walk past 7-11 and say, "Okay, okay sorry, so selfish, let's go, okay let's go. Let's just go, okay, okay."


Lyrics submitted by lanternsonlakes

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