For Mark and His Advice

Addicted to both kinds of crack,
you’re cruising Santa Monica,
looking for hustlers who like pipe.
Mark, I promise you, a see-through hand
is writing all your good deeds down
someplace hard to get to from here,
though you don’t turn your car around.
The sun’s long gone; the good people
have already locked themselves in.
Above the kid who’s on parole
dark sky approaches, like a tire
rolling over, with a bad smell.
Mark, you think that you can’t be free,
but that you can buy what you can’t be:
some young one who has no soul,
who’s free because he’s beautiful.
It won’t take long to die here,
but the streets go on forever,
the faces change just a little;
this hard stage has no hero role.
You’ve got the big recovery book
looming above your angry mind,
which doesn’t feel good, not like
these young ones on the street tonight
do. They never give it away,
like you did your shot at escape.
In fact you’d like to shoot that book
that tells you what to do; you’d like
to watch it fall for miles, into
the devil’s yawning, scaly, hairy,
wrinkled, puckered, red, caked, creviced,
upside-down, and flaming asshole.

–Eric Howard