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The Drunk by Joseph S. Pete

The lost soul sat on a bench just off the meticulously
lawn-lined asphalt ribbon of the Erie Lakawanna Trail,
reading Baudelaire in translation in the darkening twilight.
“You have to always be drunk... But on what?
Wine, poetry or virtue, as you wish. But be drunk.”
The pimpled teen was sober as an AA guest speaker
reliving the glory days in an alleged cautionary tale.
But he could relate to such an imperative to inebriation,
wasted as he was on a liberating spell of words
as he wended his way toward downtown.
An indie film in a mustily vintage one-screen theater beckoned.
The acne-scarred reader was so vastly alienated
that he spent every waking moment reading any scrap of text.
His bibliomania was such that he always read while walking,
strained his feeble eyes until the very sky turned black as slate,
until the velvet curtains parted and the flickering projector danced across the screen.
So immersed was he in inky verbiage, he occasionally needed to escape
his preferred method of escapism.
Head inevitably crooked in a creased hardcover, the awkward assemblage of gangly limbs
longed to be ensconced in a grimy, popcorn-scented seat,
transported to some faraway world where he was no longer tormented
by his isolation, his many failings, all the stinging, nettling mockery,
where he was no longer alone in the rust-daubed iron prison of his head.
He never felt such joy as he did when his rubber-soled sneakers planted on that sticky carpet,
when he was intoxicated on those art films that got him good and drunk on reverie,
took him outside himself, outside his relentless inward focus,
outside the cramped claustrophobic confines of his mind.
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