haunted by high yellow

I was unwell lying in a hospital bed

not even sure who I was

almost defeated by disease

but I’d force myself up out

to go use the bathroom

in defiance of illness nurses

in the hallway I met high yellow

a beautiful girl all smiles

on the way to buy chocolate

did I want anything?

sure get me a newspaper eh?

& she brought one back sat for a while as I read

talking of her life & sadness being alone

& when she left to go to her bed

a nurse sidled over serious don’t get too close

that girl will be gone end of the week

the high yellow is her organs dying

she overdosed on pills to end her life

& all we can do now is make the end

painless as we can help her slide on by

I saw high yellow one more time

had people visiting well wishing & I smiled

as she asked if I needed anything?

its ok honey I said I’m fine

but I never would be again

the thought of high yellow dying alone

& that I could do no more than witness

helpless as her in the end

hank williams

hank one

was singing out

into the night

& she reached over

to change the station

I said c’mon honey

you know the rules

driver chooses the music

shotgun sits & listens

counts down the miles

she changed it anyway

gave me such a sweet smile

so I switched again

found hank 3 singing

about pills & divorces

which only brought a scowl

we were surely heading

straight to hell

blue days

& the only thing to work

(the pills will kill you

slow you down

make you forget

who you were

are

will be)

is to throw that leg over

your motorcycle

ride out of town

(away from the people

who will kill you

slow you down

make you forget

who you were

are

will be)

find the big nothing

& put some miles

between you

& what ails

you

until

all of that is

tiny or nothing

in your rear view

you can never go home

though I walked the streets

there a while

thinking of the things

I did you did

& those we used to follow

friends foes leaders & frenemies

all the confusion

being a kid growing up knows

& knowing they are here now

hiding in their homes

stuck behind painted doors

thinking that equals safety

caught by the TV

booze gambling the powder

pills anything

to keep them placated

sedated off these streets

where once they roamed

free to breathe

easy inside their skins

now lost to poisons & fears

we speak in different languages now

but that don’t mean

we couldn’t find common ground

just we can

never go home again

another day of this

they gave me pills

help take the pain away

& being young

maybe foolish

I felt if I took them all

I wouldn’t see

another day of this

to find myself

face down bathroom floor

puking on me

fighting tooth & claw

climb my way

back to living

take the next breath

something inside of me

wanting life & living

more than death

& the pain

was still there

my constant companion

but now I knew

this was just a part of me

not to be defeated

but accepted

worked through

my very own Sisyphean task

stay the blade

I wanted to give up

give it all in

put out the fire

& the only thing

stayed the blade

slowed taking the pills

were the tears

I saw falling

when we said goodbye

after he had let it all go

the pain in those people

those of us he called friends

& no matter the pain

you know it never ends

just you are not here

to be loved again

be there when the clouds clear

to hope for another

brighter day tomorrow