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The Fullest of Days

This poem was written in the summer of 1995.
I got home early from work on a Friday night,
knowing that most of my Dallas friends had
taken the day off to go down to Austin and
spend the weekend with our friend Sean who
had recently moved there.

I called down to Sean's and caught him.
Everyone was there, and they were having
a few beers before hitting the bars. Sean
suggested I catch a plane, that they would
pick me up and we could all hit Sixth Street
together.... Well, that Friday just happened
to be a payday! I quickly called American and
found that they had a flight leaving for
Austin in 55 minutes. I called Sean back, told
them the gate and flight number, grabbed my
backpack and threw a change of clothes in it,
and headed for DFW....

I was the last person to board the plane. I had
never been to Sixth Street before, and I had
never taken off on such short notice
before, either! I was pretty giddy!

We had a great time in Austin that night!
Sixth Street is a fun strip, quite a bit
more developed and concentrated than anything
in Dallas. We probably hit six or seven bars
that night, and I know for a fact that I became
completely obliterated! What a full day!
Unfortunately, the evening did not end as well
as it began....

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Today is Not the Same

Today is not the same--
peeled back, unattached
to the larger block of unspent time,
it flows riverly to an end not known,
seeks nothing, becomes
a stretch of unscratched acts
that cannot decay.

A whim, a ticket in hand,
a seat on a southbound plane,
lights beneath wings as the land unfurls
to tiny shadows of walking men
on moonlit parking lots.
Highways of ant cars crawl
and a pitcher steps off the mound
as we descend.

Friends bring smiles and hope
of fun and drinks on different streets,
a Jeep that zooms through crowds,
scattered talk of Texas towns
and wedding bells and beer,
and every laugh recalls the past,
the upturned bottles, the girls,
the high school dreams.

And so begins the night, bar to bar,
between flapping lips and swaying walls
and shoulder touches from strange drunk
fools in black sequined skirts
that shake like Three Dog Night up steps
to halls of faceless bottleclenched fists
where potent Slurpees sell for chump
change and an upsidedown slice
of pizza trips to knee skinned curb
sh!t that hurts man then back
to cars like I was saying....

But the day ended up on my shirt
like so much rum and Coke
and so many airline pretzels, chewed
and congealed in lumps on denim and arms,
warm with the passion of nights that stop
in mid thought.

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Yes, I urped on myself in the car on the way back to
Sean's that night.... It's a rare day indeed that I
get to that point, but it has happened a few times....
Luckily, it has not happened in the last few years!

The story gets better, though! I had my backpack with
me in the car, so we pulled over and I changed my
clothes behind a convenience store. I was actually
kind of confused as to why I got sick: I felt fine!
I suppose it was because I usually stick to beer, and
I had been drinking rum and Coke and some alcoholic
Slurpee concoction called "190 Octane" in an out-of-
character manner that night....

I got back in the car with my fresh change of clothes,
feeling as though I was done throwing up. Before we
got back to Sean's, though, it happened again! This
time, though, I had no fresh clothes to change into....

When we got back to Sean's, everyone else had already
arrived and had picked out spots on the floor to sleep.
The lights were already out, so I didn't have to go
through the humiliation of having my friends see my
clothing dampened with red Slurpee goo.

Sean allowed me to borrow some detergent and change,
so I went to the laundry room in his apartment complex
and started washing my first set of clothes. It was
late at night, and I had the laundry room to myself,
but I was worried about residents possibly coming in
to see me with red goo all over myself.... What was I
going to do about it?

Well, rather than sit there naked while washing all of
my clothes at once (borrowing clothes from too-skinny
Sean was out of the question), I came up with another
plan. The laundry room was situated next to one of the
swimming pools in the complex, so I kicked off my
sandals and jumped in! Not a red stain to be had after
that! Think about that the next time you go swimming
in a public pool!

--Fingerly

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