UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY

KEVIN RIDGEWAY

Excerpt from an Out-of-Print Memoir

my insidious addictions
to rock cocaine and
auto erotic asphyxiation
took me down the darkest alleyways
rotting within and without a place
to call home

one rain flooded evening
I huddled deep in the
nausea of a dumpster,
draped in odds and ends
lifted from a battered
Goodwill donations box
outside a burned out
Thrifty drug store

Thirsty, starving
rashes covering my body
war ravaged continents
eating away at my
olive loaf flesh
toward the main course
of my rotten gut

A faint meow
followed by a chorus
of pin-piercing
high pitched meows
I was not the only
tenant stinking in this
dumpster

deep in the toxic soup
of cardboard and torn
plastic,
a mother was
nursing a litter
of kittens--
they didnít budge
as I stroked them
with my
good fingernail

I noticed that one
of the motherís
nipples was open
and I moved in
cautiously to
suckle her
sweet nectar,
the soothing milk
warming my taste
buds and dwindling
down my rancid
esophagus

we huddled up,
the eight of us,
for the rest of
that lost weekend
my lonely days
were forgotten
as I nipped
at mama's
teat.









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