Application for Re-Admission

I’ve been up to this and that, now and again.
Each morning I flatten with water and comb out
the scowl I wake up with.
I’ve pumped gas and sold lottery tickets.
Finally, in one grand crescendo, setting the tanks aflame
with the lucky winner, all seven numbers lined up
like virgins for sacrifice.

Women amused themselves
with my once perfect skin. I amused myself
tattooing my father’s advice on my backside.
When I woke in a camp for dyslexics, deflowered, singed,
I turned to the wall of my bunk, a scrawl of birdsong
transcribed. Too-weet, too-weet, chick-o-ree, chick-o-ree.
So much personal history disguised
as mate-calling, soul-searching!

I lay for a year, lost
in their feathery idyll of black locust leaves.
Drawn to the excess binoculars see.
Distance is sacred, a charm.

I hope you’ll agree,
another stint in paradise is well deserved.
Maybe this time the citified version: stickball in the streets,
nights off-off-Broadway, beans and rice with my Puerto Rican twin.
Weekends in a country where there are gardening tools
and peat to lighten the soil.
Rural’s fine too, you decide.
Hell, make it a hut in the Sonoran desert,
jagged ranges all around.

One of these, jaded angel, must reach you every day.
I meant to enlighten, now it seems I’ve only entertained.
True I have no goals, but in re-accepting me
after this lacuna you call my life, you take no risks.
Beyond your gate is a land of second chances.
Bend over and lace these strings that always seem to fray.
Tell me your dreams of Magdelene.

Nervously yours, I dance on pins.

Patrick Conley

If you've any comments on this poem, Patrick Conley would be pleased to hear from you.