A Night in the City

He has an innate fear of commitment
so he doesn’t have any tattoos.
He makes a living just making rent
and keeps back just enough for booze
and the occasional woman;
he lives alone.

In a one bedroom one bathroom apartment,
the kind with stains that run down ripped wallpaper
underneath air vents like open wounds,
with carpets that are still drunk
from years of late-night carelessness
that peel up at the corners
like someone could pick them up
and bag up his entire life in a sack lunch.

He likes wine, he likes Chinese take-out,
he likes when women give him glances
and hates when they expect him
to make the first move, to initiate contact.
He can’t stand to be looked in the eyes
for longer than five seconds, makes him feel
cornered, interrogated, alone in his apartment
eating crab rangoon at 3:26 a.m., watching
re-runs of Threes Company, masturbating
to a young Joyce Dewitt, and he can’t
keep composure and starts to sweat.

He feels 33 years of his life have been wasted,
sucked into the taxpayers’ toilet bowl
and flushed out into the sea. Sometimes,
he considers it. Sometimes, it creeps its way
into the back of his mind like brutal words
from an ex-wife he’ll never fall out of love with:

Just do it.

Can’t, won’t, doesn’t have it in him,
the spine the balls or anyone
to read the letter.

4 a.m.

Work in six hours. It’s hard
to turn off the t.v., to go to sleep,
to let go, to shut off

but he just does it.

about the author
Ridge C. Higgins is a local Dayton musician, poet and writer with experience in various music festivals and slam poetry events in and around the Dayton area.