No Place To Go

She wants me to see for myself,

so we drive to where

all rejected Einsteins go to die.


Didn’t even recognize the man called Dad;

playing dominoes in this smoke-filled room;

dingy green walls soaking up sounds

from some old radio playing long gone blues.


I tell him he doesn’t belong with these bums.

He says, “What bums? These are my friends.”

He says, “Black women just don’t understand

that a Black man has… no place to go.

No bowling alleys, no YMCA… nothing.”

So he comes to this place

where he can talk and

people will listen.


Now I’m back in the car

listening to Mom pour out her pain.

How Dad always tells her

he’s going out to buy a newspaper;

sometimes takes him two or three days to buy one.

Too busy smokin’, drinkin’, or playing pool.

Shootin’ balls all over the table

when he should have his balls at home.


She says it’s really not that bad;

that she’s too old to leave now;

that there is… no place to go.


I go home,

start thinking about my own pain,

that I tried to swallow in one afternoon

with an entire bottle of sake.


I savor the sweet earthy brew

until it begins to taste like poetry;

begins to taste just like him,

reminding me that I should be

drinking milk instead.

Then I hear kids laughing and singing

over some Nintendo game.

The dog wants to go for a walk

and something is burning on the stove.


So. I pour one… last… drink.

Even though I know

sake will never soothe

never dull

never erase the misery

of staying with a man

who has become my pain

just because I’m afraid

that I too

might have

no place… to go.


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