They lounge in bed
While the television screen
Glares blue
And Bourbon bottles sink.
The kids asleep,
Awakened by the roar
Of two combatants
Fighting in night’s drunk arena,
Battles lost beneath the sober glare of the sun.
Its naked blaze illuminating their defeat,
America’s dream burdened by debt and dead ends,
Beneath the electric glare,
These two
Suffer life together.

A Friday Check

He wondered where his youth went.
How it sort of slipped by.

He wondered where his dreams went,
What sieve they slid through.

He wondered where his strength went,
Did the weight weaken him?
The fifty pounds gained from thirty to sixty?

And all the great goals and expectations,
Wondered what it meant to have lost
That lust for life,

He wondered
How he became a mirrored name on a door,
Neither young nor interesting,
A name for income,
A Friday check,
Reassuring his existence?

Richard Jay Shelton was born in Coronado, California, but has lived most of his life in Los Angeles. He's a successful artist whose work is in the Smithsonian Institution as well as other museums throughout the United States. He has been painting and writing for forty five years.

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