“Looking Back, We Were No Different” by Michael Patrick McSweeney

We watch and breathe with freshman lungs
the lingering exhalations of cigarette ends
as we shiver at the edge of a mansion.
Cracked steps have dropped some stone pots
to the empty flower-beds beside them,
as if to hide their lack of growth,
their mouths spewing tobacco smolders
that wait to die by a coming rain.
The house, crumbling from its century of light,
throws the howls of passing cars away
from its peeling face, its sundered walk,
the withering rose-bushes that sink like tired eyes.
The dented doorknobs do not welcome us,
nor does the chaos of drunken fingers
bring anything but cold distraction
from a screaming college drop-out
not allowed to enter. He forces
a singing cell-phone into the hands
of a headphone-shrouded friend,
tells him to get his shit, to fix this fucking mess.
His feet scuffle with the death-curled leaves
as he stabs a burning filter
against a dirt-plastered windshield,
as if trying to push it through.
Doors open. My friend's broken-tooth smile
shines like a splash of glass,
illumed by the light inside.
We slip white-crusted dollars into his hands
to leave the red-eyed drop-out shouting
that sex is as easy as attending class.
The knobs click like bottle caps behind us
and our hands grasp cups that quake
as a keg tap's love accepts them.

Michael Patrick McSweeney is an artist and educator from the Boston region. His work has appeared in numerous journals and various regions of the Internet thanks to truly wonderful individuals. He is also the founder and chief financial officer of a used submarine conglomerate, the business website of which can be found at discountsubmarines.wordpress.com, and he hopes you have a great day.