I Can No Longer Trust My Pockets
It used to be you put something in your pocket,
it was right there when you got home.
You never had to tap to check
on that calling card or your money clip.
No safe was safer.
Even as breathless kids: ‘Here, I’m trusting
you with my stuff,
this is my rabbit’s foot, here’s my lunch money.
This cool thing I found in the ditch, protect it with your life.’
Back then there was no need to say the ‘with your life’ part.
Any worthy pocket would be insulted —
like telling water its purpose is to keep you alive in the desert.
The roles were clear.
The finder and the keeper.
That’s the pocket’s whole reason for being.
It’s not expected to live by God’s law, be a faithful husband,
a soldier, a father, a reliable worker,
a friend in the middle of the night,
a good man —
just keep whatever is put inside so later
it can be spilled onto the scratched homework desk
or your secret place in the closet, to be accounted for,
All that I’ve ever put in my pockets, my whole life,
For example, Saturday is gone. I checked my slacks, my shirt,
How do you lose 24 hours?
And it’s not just one pair. All pockets are
untrustworthy, stupid, useless.
The carpenter style pants are the worst frauds;
pockets inside pockets hiding more pockets.
For what? Tricking, faking.
Look for yourself — you’ll find nothing.
There’s not a single tool I had put there, not a rusty nail,
not a hammer. How do you misplace a hammer?
The suit jacket pockets, all pressed and pleased with themselves —
phonies. That’s where I put my bank accounts. Left me with
zero balance. Crooks.
And my shame. The shame I made public
during the wedding toast.
That is my heartache. And it is gone from the inner breast pocket
of my tux.
Please, what is mine is mine. I want it back.
I will turn those thieves inside out and make them confess.
Tell the dry cleaner to shove a hose rudely down
their narrow throats
and pump their empty stomachs emptier, suck their silk,
cotton, linen linings raw
for stealing the graduation memories,
each of my Happy Birthday songs, my family photos.
Nothing is real anymore.
My place at the table has been taken by another.
The clever tax loophole I devised, like it never happened.
My ability to get a proud, handsome, belly-slapping erection — lost.
I checked — nothing, nowhere, not even balled up
in the corner with some lint.
All my ocean summers, taken from the pocket of my
bright Bermuda shorts.
What happened to certainty? To loyalty?
Light a fire.
Bring all the kids out to watch from a safe distance.
Hell, roast marshmallows, roast a pig for all I care.
Burn every suit and pant and shirt.
Burn them away.
Before you do, put my ashes in the pockets.
Maybe that’s how I can get out of here.
Copyright © 2015 by Michael Mark