October 11, 2009

no laughing matter

by paul harrison

funny the things you remember
followed by a Volvo
bearing R U SAVED number plates
like that guy i used to live with
the guy who had a crazy, desperate, mirthless laugh
who knew the streets and treatment centres
the floor of his room in the halfway house
thick with tissues spent
and nearly most of everything always too much
usually he would just sit there on the porch
and smoke and watch all that he never knew pass by
drooling meds that never seemed to work
i liked him a lot
and i remember how one Xmas he sent his
long lost, hot shot lawyer of a brother
a bottle of the finest wine all the way to the UK
no packaging, and how that cracked me up
funny thing is, i didn’t laugh
when he recounted how another cold, lonely winter
he trashed a shop for some shelter and Xmas lunch
in the Casuarina Prison
and later knowing the presence of a terrible sadness
and all the humour between us draining away
telling me about that time
he knew the needle was dirty
but took a hit anyway
and how almost every waking moment
he prayed for the earth
to swallow him whole


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