Success Comes To A Place Too Sad To Have A Name

by Mark Parsons

We started with communal living, drugs. Then got involved in real estate
scams, extortion, blackmailing a restaurant owner for brooking his business partner,
a pederast that liked to use the restaurant to cruise teenage boys working their first jobs.
                                     There was the guy who serviced the a.c.;
he flew a single engine airplane down to Florida,
returned with cocaine on the weekends.
We stepped on all of them. The prospect of a violent death
along a lonely stretch of country road
didn’t faze me.
                       For this
the Main Asshole Nervecenter MAN valued me.
I grew accustomed to the vagaries of loyalty
to this man who knew no purpose
beyond an insatiable craving for doubt and suspicion,
his appetite sharpened
by a vague selfdenial he saw in me,
an abstracted severity
he put down to some hypoglycemia.
                                                         When I departed he gave me
     a half pound.
Years later I deadended and asked back
into the fold sulked and bristled,
was principled and morally composed,
yes, conflicted, even,
for the first time
in an otherwise dissolute
and depraved life,
having attained in the interim
with money or power or menace.
I believed I could mend,
knit the ragged ends of my soul.
                                                  I didn’t understand
the stumps were cauterized
flush with the sundering
of my black heart
a kind and decent woman passing through my life
left in her wake, her departure already assured in her first visitation (could it have been any different?)
I realized after she had staked a claim to everything
I ever thought I owned.