by Bill Yarrow
They cracked both of Jimmy's shins.
Gambling debt just like in the movies
except in real life it's a little more
tearful, a little less marauding. Aunt
Anne didn't see it. She was diabetes
blind or dead by then. I don't remember.
The main thing is to avoid heartache
but only the frozen know how to do that.
Look! The arteries of time are running out
of blood. Look! The lungs of love are caked
with soot. When your mind is a runic jewel,
you don't need book knowledge. Still, there
is "the algebra of need," the calculus of junk,
the addict's infatuation with a run of raw luck.
All rights reserved.
A version of this poem appeared as "Stevie's Knees" in Wilderness House Literary Review.
Thank you, Irene Koronas!
A version of this poem appears in Blasphemer (Lit Fest Press 2015) and in my chapbook FOURTEEN (Naked Mannekin, 2011).
"The algebra of need" is from Naked Lunch by Wm. S. Burroughs.