San Francisco

buried me in the records department
of the UC Medical Center and cold fog afternoons,
reading Naked Lunch, smoking slow hours,
gave me a black eye the night I was drunk,
spinning, crashing into the coffee table,
knocked out, passed out, waking up
on Jimmy’s floor with vision blurred
like every morning on the Muni—
Crickets set up camp in my head
with their coded Coit tower of babbling—
no wait, that was Eddie’s nightmare, not mine…
Mine was the party
(I can’t remember the girl’s name)
in that old house on Fulton, I think it was,
doing lines of coke in the kitchen,
and that skinny guy with Aids
(he still had the blue ink X’s on his cheek
from radiation treatments)
passed me a straw he had used,
and on the end of it I saw a drop of blood.
Drunk, high, scared of disease,
I stumbled into the BART station later that night
waiting for the train, my leg going like a piston
in that bright addled neon station light,
thinking, could be me next,
as the ghosts unpeeled themselves
from the white tile walls.

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