The ghost of my own life


The cops eye me from the warmth of their care as I stumble down the street.

My head buzzes from smoking too many joints.

The gray day seems glazed over as I make my way through the old neighborhood, the one time yuppieville abandoned with the new rise in crime.

Luxury buildings boarded up.

Each window covered to keep rats like me from huddling inside.

A cold wind whips at my uncombed hair, though winter is almost over and I soon wonít need to sneak in and out of abandoned palaces and can sleep like a normal person in the park.

Even the store fronts are closed, the sushi parlors, the fresh produce stands and the health food store with its advertisements for long life.

A coffee shop that sells liquor remains the only untouched setting shelves loaded with bottles of temporary forgetfulness along with false hope lottery tickets.

Losing tickets flutter along the wind swept sidewalk like metallic colored leaves, buzzing bits of pointless paper with all the hope scratched off.

Not even traffic uses this block much any more, keeping to the freeways from one enclave to another where they donít need no smug cops with shinny badges to protect them from people like me who might want to hurt them.

I wasnít always like this.

Once my life seemed cozy and warm, as I sipped good wine in front of hot fire places, staring into a set of bright and loving eyes.

I still miss her soft touch, and the taste of her.

These days the only thing I smell is burned coffee when I wake up and bad booze when I go to sleep.

I canít recall what made me and her go our separate ways, only both of us mumbling something about feeling trapped.

I canít even tell you which was the wrong step I good that led me here, since so many steps steered me away from that life and sent me stumbling over the trash cans and broken bottles of dead end allies.

I hear the cop car start, a reluctant cough, then a whine, then finally a shudder as its wheels spit gravel and the dark metal oozed out of the shadow like spreading oil.

It pants behind me, struggling to maintain my slow pace so it doesnít have to pass me right away.

I am everything that has gone wrong for this city, stumbling through my life like a ghost, the sore disappointment of society which expected the good times to go on forever.

I canít pretend to think what they think.

Perhaps they think I like living like a ghost, haunting my own life, my head full of the rattling memory chains of a warm, softer life and her bright eyes looking back at me.

She was sweet wine I sipped and sipped but never managed to empty.

She was the fire that pumped through my veins instead of blood.

When the cop car finally passes me, the officers inside only glare.

I can see they wish me dead.

I often wish the same thing.


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