Fractured notes from a fractured man taking a walk at 12pm

I awake and walk
from my apartment
at 12pm.
The cool air holds my hand
like a man
on a rickety
hospital gurney.
I'm higher
than a broken streetlight
and just as broke
but nobody'll know
we can't shine
if we make it
back inside
before dark.
The leaves fall
like I do
but they don't bleed
like I do
and they don't get up
like I do...
A Doritos bag and an American flag
flutter in the breeze
and I think I love my country
for the same reason
everyone else does,
because I'm a coward
who'd rather be
on the side
dropping bombs
instead of having
bombs dropped on me--
of course,
if you stand too close
to a big bully
he's still gonna
kick your ass
and take your lunch money.
A shaved head pops out
of a passing car.
He looks at me
like he knows me
like I've wronged him
in some horrible way
that can no longer go
They speed off.
I wonder if they'll come back
to put a bullet
through the poem
in my brain.
If you're reading this
then know that I'm Ok...
or at least alive...
or at least not dead...
fuck it, I'm just here.

I wanted to write something nice about love but ended up writing this instead

I guess there was something
more important
than a few more kisses,
something more
that another
redundant Friday night
had to offer
to let IT
slip away
like a dead fish
through fingers stained
in scaly iridescence,
which is now all
either of us has left
of the experience.

I know there are
plenty more mutated fish
in this polluted sea
and I've seen
your bright barbed hooks
and don't doubt
you'll catch your limit.


But as for me
I'm gonna hold my breath
beneath the surface
secure inside
my steel
shark-proof cage
where neither fish
nor fisherwoman
can catch me,

and I'm gonna hold out
for a mermaid
worth parting
with these steel bars…

I guess I'm still not above
believing in myths.
But love?
That one
is just a little
too fantastic
to swallow
and even if I did
swallow it
I'd probably just
end up
on the bones

Greg Scharf lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has work in upcoming issues of Mouseion,
My Favorite Bullet, Zygote in My Coffee, Lunatic Chameleon and on the San Gabriel
Valley Poetry Quarterly calendar. His website is at

© 2005 Underground Voices