Tuesday, January 29, 2008


Mourning now.
I'm morning sick.
Better run down to the corner Johnny.
Better run down there quick.
I'm slipping into cold.
Slipping into
Cold gray death.
Skin pale gray marble.
stomach stretched tight
as a tourniquet.

It's just all dark like fear.
Crowding this one lost color out and away from behind my eyes.
I can hear my blood betraying me.
Johnny's making noise in the kitchen.
Then she's looking through her purse.
She says, "I know, just what you need.
"A nurse with a good eye, rolls up your sleeve."

And I'm afraid that even smiling is gonna hurt.

Run down to the corner babe..
She stares vacant like an abandoned car watching the street.
The street has no sun to announce the breaking of day.
But there's illumination on the corner.
Boys in bright, white tee-shirts.
Inventing language and new sports heroes.
Running from the police. Everyone keeping score.

My pain doesn't make a sound. It's old. Pain is.
Before memory.
After memory, it's too late.
Keeping score.
Pain is pity this mourning.
Morning sick.
Run down to the corner, Johnny.
Please run down there quick.

I'm slipping into gray.
Cold as death.
Pity is the score. Pain is.

Johnny says, "You were sleeping when I came in this mourning."

"It's not sleep, honey."

Johnny says, "I'm gonna be an actress. Or a poet."

Johnny works at Division and Halstead, lately. Cars stop there and when
she gets in, they take her where she tells them.
She still believes.
Sometimes she stays in. We eat Chinese and watch
old black n white movies.
She remembers still, when she was a little girl.
Nothing nice.
She says, "Baby, I'll do anything for you.

I told Johnny once, "Don't fall, if you don't believe, I'll pick you up."
That was the evening we made love. We struck our bargain.

"Yeah, please. Run down to the corner."

"You sick?"

"It's morning, babe."
It's mourning, all over the world. Well, mostly.

She's at the door smiling.

"But babe? Sometimes I hate to think I'm going to be happy."
She's keeping score.

"Why is that, Johnny?"

"Because I still have all this time to think the other things."

"What other things?"

"All the things that can, you know, go wrong."

I start to shudder once the door slams and all that's left
in the room is the patient reminder of time, coming even and steady - tick, tick, tick.
The clock, keeping score. Pain first, than mourning pity.Then, I break down and cry.

Brian Murphy

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