Corner Life

A junkie coworker of mine steals cars and drives them to drug clinics
to score his methadone fix.
He’s always on time because no one wears a watch,
at least not around this place where time steals value minutes
away from stationary life. Digital idiots we’ve become
always looking down, doing what we are told,
technology replacement of human contact
as the world’s dress rehearsal unfolds on plasma screens
surround by high-definition insanity.

I work forty hours a week to maintain a life I’m occasionally in,
I lost my way along the asphalt highway, the disorientation of natural light
blurs my mental focus, yet I manage to maintain inside the lines.
I play classical music inside my car to lessen the scars
of each passing day,
Beethoven’s musical-poetry revives my immortal soul.

Behind the wheel questions of existence swim
in a direction of roadside waterways as my life jacket unbuckles
memories of last night’s empty bag of potato chips tossed to the floor
like the grease-whore it is, its purpose of providing comfort foods
to the weary soldiers marching through life never feeling secure,
not knowing if today will be the day
all falls into place or if all falls apart.

The turn of the next corner provides enough ample light
to fearlessly glide across paved-lies of oppression and poverty,
the storefront windows breed envy and lies
with their tattle-tale signs to fill the night sky
to blink excitement along with possible jail time.

Inside the empty bodega, the only cashier catches my long-stride
out of the corner of her eye, I make my way to the back
to grab another faithful 6-pack. The cold cans chill my hands
the promise of remembrance offsets any name brand, a few sips of the crisp
comfort from the darkened sky, I shake off the thunder cloud mist,
whose rumble from the distance flash its own light show,
illuminating the way home, my pace back to the car quickens
before the bottom falls out, and the rain pours down.

Enemies begin to fight from within,
demons dance to the splash of sounds, popped tops
drop to the ground, another night of internal fight commences its first round.
The mirror holds the lies of before where shouts of “I promise,”
fall on deaf ears, old sores reopen to past lies
soon to be repeated in future times,
mistakes made along acrimonious lines.

I try to make peace with the days ahead, I turn the bedside light out
to quiet the demons inside my head, only to be foiled by forethought memories –
I lay upon my back as memory replays events of the last few days,
a series of rapid impact flashbacks
in a search for solace and comfort
I grasp at the fresh clean sheets,
pulling them snug against my chest,
I wrestle my pillow into submission for rest,
I begin to dream of dreams of life yet to come,
my mind silently whispers goodnight as my chest lessens its grip,
my mind takes flight into dimensions of divine bliss.


Valerie Vaughn

Valerie Vaughn is a poet, writer, and author. A native of central Pennsylvania, she received her Bachelor's of Arts in History from Mary Baldwin College. She is a contributor to Poets Unlimited, Crossing Genres, and Extra Newsfeed at Medium. Her works appear in narratorINTERNATIONAL Anthologies Volumes 2 and 3, where she is an Editor's Pick Recipient.

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