Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekend Solo by Jasen Sousa

Weekend Solo


My friends call me 
all week.

“There’s no one else around, just let me borrow a few bucks please, I promise.  I’ll pay you back.”
“Hey, I’m in a real bad spot now.  I feel like using, I know it’s late, but if you want to hang out and talk for a few I’d really appreciate it.”
“Hey asshole!  I’ve been trying to get in touch with you the last few days.  I got bad news.  Call me back when you get this.  Asshole!”
“You got any furniture moves coming up?  Last one we did together was some good dough.  Remember that granite kitchen table?  That was nuts.  Hit me back.”
“I have to take care of some stuff.  I’m wondering if you can just watch Eva for a few hours?  Please.  I would really appreciate it.  You’re the only one I trust.”
“You know Jacob’s father just got out of rehab and he thinks we’re going to get back           together?  I kind of told him I would if he got clean, but I didn’t really think he would!  Don’t know what to do?”
“You know Crissy?  The girl that was staying with me?  I went out for a few hours, just to pay some bills so they wouldn’t turn off the electricity and when I came home my TV was gone!  She sold it for a quick fix.  Do you believe that?”

Once Friday appears,
they disappear
into thick air


and I am alone

the same way they were
during the week while I worked
and they roamed.

It’s Friday 
and I too am looking
for something to do.

I make a few calls  
to see if anyone wants
to hang out, no one 

picks up.

There’re busy now
putting in work,
looking for their next fix.

I wonder how many times
people have looked at my name 
and number on their phones while they shot 
what they bought, 
what they will never own
into their systems.

Pick up, pick up,

listen.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Old Friend of Many None by Jasen Sousa

Old Friend of Many None


Because of the destructive lifestyles
I have been around for most of my existence,
I run, I diet, I sweat, I fast, 
and do everything in my power
to keep myself healthy.

Maybe in the end
I’ll be an old and wrinkled man
with a brain that stayed fully intact,
not allowing me to forget,
but only to remember everyone I have lost.

All my friends I grew up with 
will be gone

and there will be no one left
to visit in jails, in mental hospitals, and in half-way houses.
They will have all succumbed to their lifestyles, and they
will not need to call me anymore for assistance.

And there will be no one left

to come and visit me.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Soul Compartment by Jasen Sousa

Soul Compartment 


For now, we are friends, because addiction
has decided to hang with someone else.
His eyes are open, his pupils are wide,
and he witnesses me for the first time in awhile.

He comments about my hat I’ve had for months,
and the earring that has hung from my lobe
for even longer, and how much he likes them.

We have a conversation I know
he will remember, I speak from my soul
that I usually keep locked inside my glove
compartment with my wallet.

This is a day to cherish
because it might be weeks

before I hear from him again.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Mr. Clean by Jasen Sousa

Mr. Clean


The dirt has been washed 
off his hands.  The streaks of ash 
have been removed from his face.
His socks are not full of blood.  His feet 
are without blisters from walking in looped trails 
for different places to sleep.

He is home with muscles 
on his bones, lined up sideburns, and eyes 
that haven’t seen me since 
I was a much younger man.

He carries sidewalk stories 
in his jean pockets.  Years of stepped on gum 
imbedded into the skin
on his forearms.  

The sun is out.  People walk up and down 
the streets with their own agendas, knowing, and not knowing 
where their feet, and minds 
will take them today.


My friend’s thoughts have returned him 

to my life, not to ask for extra cash, 
or a place to crash until those he has yet to pay 
find someone else to harass.

My friend has returned
looking for the all the years he has lost.
He has trusted me to help him find them.  
We will go back out at night with a flashlight,
look for all that he has dropped along the way,
and I will help him pick it all up piece by piece.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Spotlight by Jasen Sousa

Spotlight


The one Somerville streetlight
shined on me while
I bounced my ball
deep into the night.

Basketball is a game
of rhythm, repetition
and discipline.

My dirt-covered fingertips
painted from a court that was swept
by me years before when I stole my father’s broom
to sweep puddles that stood in the way of progress.

I tried to find seams on the ball where the leather
started to peel off.

Basketball saved me
when my friends were
putting drugs in their hands.


I held my own rock

and flung it towards the sky,
and it would always come back.

I would sit on my ball on the free throw line
and watch my friends with thumping systems drive by,
going to places they thought would make them happy.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Wireless Rain by Jasen Sousa

Wireless Rain


It is a rainy Thursday night
as almost every summer night 
has been here in Boston.

In a world where everything
and everyone is connected, my friend is missing
and out of touch, anonymous 
as a person can be in this day and age.

Homeless, 
when he does call
it’s from a pay phone,
strange numbers common.

We are wireless in a world
full of tanglazation.

Days of calling
and asking me for time
and money I don’t have.


I miss him 

and hope that the tree
in the park is sheltering
him from some of the rain.

I hope he is wireless
from rubber bands and needles,

and is able to catch himself like
the drop of rain in my palm.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Race by Jasen Sousa

Race


His thoughts are like a NASCAR speedway, race
the dragon, fire breathing, an addict’s 
burn to fill time and space with a substance
that does not acknowledge either.  Today,
just like other days, my friend committed 
a crime against his own flesh, blood, because
his flesh and blood are no longer his, he
sold them for a bag of heroin and
has been trying to buy them back ever
since with computers and family heirlooms
that help him consume the stars and the moon

on a park bench under an empty sky.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Lawn Chair by Jasen Sousa

Lawn Chair


Tonight is the first night
my friend asks me for money
and does not lie,
telling me he needs it for food,
or to buy a gift for his girl or family.

He tells me straight up to let him
borrow some money to get high.

I guess you have to respect his honesty.

I tell him
I am not in the demolition business,
and that I am in the construction business
and I am not going to give him money to get high.

We play ball at Conway Park until the lights fade out,
and then we play a little more.

We sit in my car and listen to a little music,
and we talk until he nods off.

I drop him off 
and he goes to sleep in a lawn chair in the backyard 

until his girlfriend comes home.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Proof of Life by Jasen Sousa

Proof of Life


We start off at Somerville Hospital.

“To get into detox you need
a Massachusetts ID,” says the lady
with the huge tits at check-in.

He has his social security card
and birth certificate, but no MASS ID.

He’s 21 and been in and out of jail
since 16.
Never took a permit test, let alone
a driver’s test.

We arrive at the mall.

Another large woman with bent glasses

at the RMV in the Cambridgeside Galleria tells us,

“We only renew licenses here,
we don’t process ID’s.”

All that time in line for nothing.

We arrive at the larger RMV in Watertown.

We wait in line for a half hour
before we get the form.
While we sit filling this thing out,
a woman with a cast on her arm
that has no signatures
wants to make sure we have all the proper forms.

He has a birth certificate,
and a social security card, 
but no proof of address.

They don’t care 
that my friend
has been in and out of jail,
and homeless,
sleeping at a friend’s house

here and there.

We still wait because we think
we can convince the person.
Like we are at a deli
waiting for some meat, we wait and watch 
for almost two hours as the numbers crawl
from 49 to 110.

We approach the man,
tie undone,
pen protector,
a few pieces of hair
slicked to the side.

“I don’t make the rules, sorry.”

We go to another RMV in Melrose
and wait for a good hour, standing against a wall
before we get a ticket.

He gets his MASS ID.

The day is over.
Can’t check into detox
until morning because the cut off time is 3 P.M.

I drop him off at a Dunkin Donuts
as I head to work, and wonder
if he will stay clean for the night?




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Change, Please? by Jasen Sousa

Change, Please?


He holds the stack of loot sideways, cannot
even look at the green faces that are
drowning in his nervous palms as he walks
to the spot to go shopping.  Cabinets
are empty because he ate his way out
of his home and ended up in a strange 
place where the shelves are stocked with long aisles
of the sweetest ingredients you could 
ever imagine.  But today he’s sick, sick
from the same meal he has been eating all 
month.  He scratches, shakes, he shivers, he sweats, 

and keeps moving, holding onto his change. 




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Unnamed Streets by Jasen Sousa

Unnamed Streets


He walks down unnamed streets,

strolls by his home, hung-up
on habits that his family doesn’t condone.

There’s not much in life
that he owns, except for a pair
of socks with holes, and sneakers
with worn down soles.

There’s not much in life
that he controls, addiction blankets
dreams and goals, friendly strangers
and demons he has come to know
and like.  He swings for the stars
with a lighter and a pipe.

His darkness has crept into the day


away 

from night.

Everyday a fight, a 12-round-bout
filled with anger and doubt, victories
and failures.  The misery of being
both a fiend and a dealer.

Haven’t heard from him in weeks,
which means he has pockets that leak,
and any spinach he accumulates 
goes to people who live in cities
that don’t have flood gates, drowned
in hate, and don’t care how they
make an extra buck.

Outta money.

Outta pleasure.

Outta luck.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

A Snowman in Somerville by Jasen Sousa

A Snowman in Somerville


A strong wind from Charlestown
blows cold air through
the City of Somerville.

A snowman is built 
from the bottom up.  It is given a body 
with no legs
because distance and travel
are not part of the plan.
It is meant to stay on the same lawn,
on the same block.

His eyes are soulless, he watches, but is not seen.

Flesh on his arms turns to twigs
from injecting the warmth.

One night he grows legs,
and commits crimes against himself,
against his kind.


Snowman stop snitching

on the people who feed you your poison!
Snowman stay silent!

Police lights bounce
off store windows.
Blood pours on dirty snow
to make it pure once again.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Somewhere Lost by Jasen Sousa

Somewhere Lost


Somewhere lost
inside fidgety movements
and rapid fire vulgar outbursts
that arise from anxiety
he wears 
to show he is clean.

To show he is the same kid
who grew up three houses 
down the street from me.

The same kid I used to
pitch to in the park,
the same kid I used to 
play rebound with.

We drive three blocks, 
he is already on his second square.

I drop him off
at his house,

give him daps
and wonder
if he remembers
who he was 

like I do?




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Ring by Jasen Sousa

Ring


“I’m doing so good kid.
I really think I got my life
turned around now.
I’ve been clean for six months.

But hey look,
I really need to borrow
a c-note from you.

I promise I’m good for it.
I’ve been working mad hours
at my new job, I told you right?

I’m working at the Dunkin Donuts
bringing in major cash.

But anyway, I’m just a little behind on things.”

I tell him I’ll call him right back
so I can take a minute to breathe
and decipher which parts are true,

and which are not.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

My Man, the Ice Cream Man by Jasen Sousa

My Man, the Ice Cream Man


My man, the ice cream man, creeps around town
in a marked white van, crawling through the streets
selling magnetic treats to little kids
with metal feet.  Frozen snacks, summer treat.
My man, the ice cream man, plays the city
a song that echoes off signs and buildings.
Memorized, generations of children
that purchase in order to keep living.
My man, the ice cream man, knows about all
the different flavors people want to buy.
Keeps an inventory of an old story
written with a beginning, but no end.
My man, the ice cream man, he will come back

tomorrow to make sure the cities’ fat.





First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Symptoms by Jasen Sousa

Symptoms


I search for words
like my man searches for
his next hit.  I search 
for pleasure, for freedom
in the moment, just like my man.

I know the pleasure will
not last, but I still
need it, just like my man.

We are the same.
We come from the same
street, from the same city.

The only difference is that he has caught
the disease.  The highly contagious disease
that gets spread through crews.

He is sick, he suffers, 
and has no one
to take care of him, because unlike
other diseases, this disease makes 
you steal from those who take care
of you, 

not because you want to,

but because you have to.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7

Aroma by Jasen Sousa

Aroma


Have plans with my man, 
nothing specific, we are
going to just hang out and kick it.

He sends me a text 
from an unknown, unfamiliar number,
telling me that he can’t make it.

Become angry, thoughts 
speed through my head
like a disabled train
at rush hour.

He must be up to his old tricks,
out to get a fix,
texting me licking his lips.

I send back
an angry response
in angry fonts.

He texts me back,
he wants to see me real bad,


but he has been in and out of shelters

lately, and hasn’t been able to shower
for weeks.


“Even my name wreaks.”


And for a moment
I remember his name.




First Published
in
Somewhere Lost

Copyright © 2011 by Jasen Sousa

Copyright © All Rights Reserved by J-Rock Publishing

Library of Congress
Cataloging in Publication Data
ISBN  978-0-9714926-7-7
 
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