Tim Kahl

Damn I Bruise

Damn I bruise like a top shelf peach.
A sickly yellow purple gray patch
announces itself on my bicep and thigh
just from hauling a mini-fridge
down a flight of stairs. I hugged it
too tight and it hugged back. I feel
like an old man on a strict diet of
prunes, all clogged up and sputtering
into some ridiculous predicament
that will happen later this week.
Like once in a while when you hear a guy
in the stalls two doors down who
sounds like an outboard motor starting up.
You want to say, Hey, Johnny Thunderclap,
get a hold of yourself. You don't
always have to rush into the drama
of a gale force. Still the guy continues
to press his vehemence. And I'm thinking
of the fence falling down on the back of
my lot. When is there going to be the energy
for that? Right after I watch the All-American
kid at third base come up to bat on TV?
Hell, I have underwear that's as old as him.
It settles into its role at the bottom of
the drawer, waiting for the elastic on
all the new guys to give out. My wife tells me
I should get rid of things I don't use anymore.
She understands how the middle class works.
I've seen the unkempt and the snarled get
thrown to the wolves. There they are at
the end of the offramp holding up a tattered sign
that says, I won't lie. I need to get drunk.
Suddenly I realize I need to get old,
but don't make me hold up a goddamned sign.
Don't discolor my hide or make my veins bulge
or let my joints become gnarled. I won't sign off
on that deal unless . . .what's that? You're saying it's
non-negotiable? I have to stay this way until
I completely crap out? What if I overexert myself
once again? Will I get some sort of honorable mention?
Probably not. In that case, I will make my way to
the last resort, where I can ride my motorboat
out to the middle of the lake and float and drift
like a piece of cast-off bait in the chop.

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