Injured Reserve

Injured Reserve

i was injured 
    a few times
        in my early career
            injured pretty bad
                every time
        i'm pretty sure of that
             by my account
                 anyway

but i'm not crying
    cause it happens to most
         we all get injured
             throughout the course
                of playing the game
                     rubbing dirt in our wounds
                             so we can keep on playing

so the question becomes
    how do you bounce back?
               stronger than before
        what do you do?
             when you decide booze and dope
                   a hateful or lackluster marriage
                          the pretenses of career
             aren't your answers

though mostly recovered
     today
         i feign injury
             especially around the holidays
         feigned
             with work
             or delivering meals to the 
                      needy
         truly performed
             and great excuses
                  for staying out of 
                       their game
disliking the game
        cause i'm either no good
             or it just isn't good
        whichever comes first 
their game
   a day of celebration
       of falseness
           and flatness
           and pretense
           too much hollow authenticity
                 just accepted
           slights not forgiven
           obnoxious personalities ignored
                bushed under the carpet
                      for a long and boring day
                          so that everyone
                               can pretend 
                                         together
                 that's it's not uncomfortable
                      or just plain dull
                 agreeing to play
                      cause that's just what you do
a bad game for most
        except for the truly needy
                 not so much of the material
                          but needy in much of
                                 everything else

feigning injury
     sitting on on the sidelines
                    in bars
                    arenas
                    holidays
           most at ease
                alone
                   observing
                   analyzing
                   interpreting
                          moving up the sideline
                 as the team progresses
                     but hanging there
                         as they lose ground
                 indifferent they say
                              or opportunistic
                     but not wishing to loose ground
                         I say
                 when so much of the cause of losing
                         ground 
                 rests on their mistakes
                                not the gameplay
                                  of other teams
                      our mistakes
                          of fragile egos
                          interpreting negative intent
                          slights and jealousies 
                                    never truly buried
                 no 
                    I will not give ground
                          in playing that silly game
                                   of pretend
unless called upon
    at
        funerals
        anniversaries
        birthdays
when i cannot feign
        without lies

this year i feigned injury
             reclusion from their game
     by delivering meals
          then went home 
                      alone
            i dislike the game
                 but not entirely
                    just parts
            so i bought a turkey breast
                 the best for a single person
and got the recipe for cooking it in the Crock Pot
            it said it would turn out juicy
                 better than the oven
                 but you gotta broil it for a 
                       few minutes
                 to give it that brown from the
                       oven
                 to give it the illusion
                       of something that it's not
                              like so many other things    
                                 on the holiday

so I didn't brown mine
    it tasted real good 
              even without the golden skin
         and canned green beans
              nothing fancy like a casserole
and instant mashed potatoes
            weren't a good as some other stuff
                  at other places
    but plenty good enough
    for, without them,
          i didn't have to describe my job
          while somebody else describes theirs
                neither one caring much 
                            but pretending a lot 
                   that the talk is more than just talk                         
                     but it's boring as fuck
                         the job and the talk
                        even experiencing it 
                            firsthand
                                  day after day
               or pretending to have interest
                       in a story heard the dozenth time
                  that wasn't all that interesting
                       the first time
talking the boring shit
     of every day
          like a dog talking about his existence inside
                    the circle of his chain
              the chain rubbing the grass
                    down to a circle of dirt
                       shitting and pissing inside
                             your own circle
          instead of thinking about
                      or dreaming about
                      or striving for a taste
                            of what life might be like
                                if he ever got unhooked
                                  to play
                                  to roam
                                  to think
                                      for itself
                                         its ultimate
                                               freedom

but instead
     we pretend
            like a turkey slow cooked
                 then broiled for 10 minutes

    we pretend
              and accept
    the dull and false and tired conversations
              the pressure to entertain
                     and be entertained
          while trying to be true
                    which means being alone
             living true?
               like writing true?
                   or just an excusing
                        for being an asshole?

i don't know but either way
      instead of playing their game
i got to write this instead
      and even though the mashed potatoes weren't real
            and neither was the gravy
                and the pie was without Cool Whip
i got to have mine with beer 
                cause here
                      there's no bad example
                 to set for the screaming kids
    cold bitter beer
         instead of soda or water or tea
             which tasted pretty goddamned good

and though
   the gravy isn't the same
        as the care put into homemade
            I say fuck the sentiment in homemade gravy
give me the cheap stuff
     at home
     all alone
     with an extra serving of peace
                and less pretense
                    than there
                       even if 
                         there's still some
                              in here
the pretense of
convincing myself
      through the drama of poetics
           that this
               is the dramatic consequence of truth
rather than
      the hollow life
               of an asshole
of misanthropy
and solipsism
the sadness
    veiled
behind an illusion of words
        the weepy poet
            the weepy martyr
                 or both?

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