Hungover again, sometime near Christmas.

They wanted me to help them put the Christmas tree up 

I did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up 

the alcohol that was violently thrashing its way 

through my digestive system did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up

My brain pulsing like a reverse orgasm

did not want to help them put the Christmas tree up

They stood there staring at me with cold black eyes

taking in my shaky hands and sweat beaded brow

They knew I was dying, slow as a gunshot to the gut

That, I just needed some rest, but sympathy lies somewhere

between shit and syphilis and would not be available that brisk winter morning

I would have explained myself, only I had sold all my words last night for cigarettes and gin

And Yes, I had told them last night 

that indeed it would be my pleasure to help them put the Christmas tree up

And yes, such declarative statements might as well be cast in stone, as my blue-collar pride and lower-middle-class guilt 

would not allow me to leave a job unfinished

And so I find myself, lying beneath a large green tree that smells like gin

Atop an orange shag carpet that smells like cigarettes

And it’s like the past and present have emulsified into one smooth fluid scent 

makes my nose burn, my eyes water, 

they laugh and not behind their hands, 

rather cackling like witches, piercing my ears like a frozen, rusted screwdriver

I have no friends 

I have no future

Only a blurred past of regret and a current present of pain

I would sell my sight for a sip of beer

Only the dog loves me, she watches me from the couch with her sad wet eyes

Seeing past my diseased and broken form and into the smalling glowing ember

That is my soul….So close to death

But I will finish the goddamn tree

And it will sparkle and shine

Casting it’s warm festive glow, across the living room, through the front window

Out into the street

Where I’ll be lying in the gutter

Thankful for the light

Matthew A. Close is a chef, rapper, playwright, and filmmaker. His play “My Name is GOD Motha*&#@ was produced in San Francisco at The Exit Theater and in San Jose at The Art Boutiki. He has released two albums with the underground hip hop group Can’t Find a Villain

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