Noel Negele

Begin again 

To start from scratch
is to be alone in a foreign land
amongst strangers—
It’s renting a small room
in a shared house 
with a deposit that almost leaves you penniless 
but as Bukowski once said:
‘ Glad to have the room’.

It’s shitty work
and dissatisfying paychecks—
it’s introducing yourself 
over and over again;
‘ Hey, my name’s -insert name –
nice to meet you’.

It means sleeping on a bed with no sheets,
with your clothes on
using your jacket as a pillow.
It means failing a lot.
Waking up in the middle of the night
mortified, fully aware
you’re hanging from a thread—
a delayed wage away 
from homelessness.

Starting from scratch 
is loneliness—
it’s you at your room’s window
smoking with your arm hanging outside
considering throwing in the towel
instead of stepping in the ring one more day.
Your head under the vicious attack
of either anxious and distressing thoughts 
or good memories that are more haunting 
than anything else.

It’s working in a factory
with matching clothes 
on nights shifts or, 
if you’re lucky,
double shifts,
doing mundane tasks 
and too sad to hit on the Polish girls.

It is a mountainous desperation
enough to make one pray 
but starting from scratch is also
exhilarating under the right light 
of romanticism—
the slave that plots his escape.

You meet new people 
and see new places
and surprise yourself 
with stocks of strength 
you never thought you have
as you take on the dog days 
with the patience of the stoic. 

And when you laugh 
amidst this swamp of grey
you know it’s the laughter 
of the strong.

So hang in there.
Starting from scratch 
means you’re on your way.

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