Noel Negele


Too many sleepless nights
to count—
the dark circles under your
eyes become like
craters over time
which sucks cause
you’re no junky anymore
but you sure as hell
look like one
and in those awfully
slow hours of the nights
you rummage
through childhood memories
just to test
your memory’s span

and don’t let anyone
tell you they remember
as far back as four years old—
there’s no way of knowing
for sure
unless a parent puts a date
to your memory
but then again
parents lie all the time.

I mean you remember your first kiss
but you don’t really know
how young you were exactly
unless it happened in your teenage years
or even later on—
all you remember is her
chewing gum and spitting it
sideways in a vulgar way
before clasping her mouth
against your mouth
and how you thought
you were in love
right there and then.

The first fight
and the taste of blood
like a mouthful of
liquid rust on your tongue

the dog you killed
with negligence
and how fast a corpse
becomes stiff

the brain matter
you came across
on a street someone
was shot dead on
and how you almost
scooped it up
thinking it was mince for cooking
back then in a time
of civil war in a white
third world country

your dead father’s face
who was always absent
and who can now
only be visited upon
in retrospect

you browse your memories
almost teary-eyed
30 years old now
sitting by the window
unwillingly admitting to yourself
that the absence of a father
and a long string of bad stepfathers
might have something to do
with how fucked up you are

realizing for the first time
amongst other things
that a ticking clock
can sound deafening
when you’re alone

there’s no way in hell
you won’t be humbled by life
and if it hasn’t happened yet for you
it will happen soon enough

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