Hungover Again, Sometime Near Christmas

by Matthew Close

They wanted me to help them put the Christmas tree up 
I did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up 
the alcohol that was violently thrashing its way 
through my digestive system did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up
My brain pulsing like a reverse orgasm
did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up
They stood there staring at me with cold black eyes
taking in my shaky hands and sweat beaded brow
They knew I was dying, slow as a gunshot to the gut
That, I just needed some rest, but sympathy lies somewhere
between shit and syphilis and would not be available that brisk winter morning
I would have explained myself, only I had sold all my words last night for cigarettes and gin
And Yes, I had told them last night 
that indeed it would be my pleasure to help them put the Christmas tree up
And yes, such declarative statements might as well be cast in stone, as my blue-collar pride and lower-middle-class guilt 
would not allow me to leave a job unfinished
And so I find myself, lying beneath a large green tree that smells like gin
Atop an orange shag carpet that smells like cigarettes
And it’s like the past and present have emulsified into one smooth fluid scent makes my nose burn, my eyes water, 
they laugh and not behind their hands, rather cackling 
like witches, piercing my ears like a frozen, rusted screwdriver
I have no friends 
I have no future
Only a blurred past of regret and a current present of pain
Only the dog loves me, she watches me from the couch with her sad wet eyes
Seeing past my diseased and broken form and into the smalling glowing ember
That is my soul….So close to death
But I will finish the goddamn tree
And it will sparkle and shine
Casting it’s warm festive glow, across the living room, through the front window
Out into the street
Where I’ll be lying in the gutter
Thankful for the light

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