Real

I hurt myself today to see if I still feel
I focus on the pain the only thing that's real   
"Hurt" by Trent Reznor  

The winter wind blows raw, 
I'm hunched above a grate,
a warmth that comes from Hell, 
my life a broken slate.
A needle in my arm, 
a horse rides through my vein. 
My memories slow down, 
sleep-walking in the rain.

Sometimes when I wake, 
the rattlesnakes return.
They coil around my feet 
in rhythm with the burn.
They wrap around my throat. 
They take away my sound.
They trip me up and put me 
in my place back on the ground.

I smell burning bodies, 
at night they keep me warm.
Kuwaiti oil still smolders 
in the dust of Desert Storm.
Ten years to get to Baghdad, 
I never made it back,
became a lotus-eater, 
Ulysses of Iraq.

Blessed sister loves a junkie, 
in particular loves me,
knows when to offers prayers, 
knows when to let me be.
She takes me to a shelter.
She leads me to a bed,
one by one removes 
the dragons from my head.

The pain tonight is quiet.
My shoulder hardly aches.
The voices hissing in my brain 
grow dim, the fever breaks.
I hope to sleep the whole night through.
I hack and cough.
The rattlers wrapped around my throat 
seem like a long way off.  

Goodnight I tell the sister.
I wake up in the rain.
She reaches down with love. 
I look up in pain.
Breakfast is Tequila, 
China White my midday meal, 
the taste of hurt for dinner, 
the only thing that's real.

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