The tacky feel of a cigarette paper
stuck to my lower lip
on a dry day under dry heat
made me feel gritty,
an affectation I drank to encourage,
padding down sidewalks in bare feet
to work in Bukowski's grubby glamour.
There was adventure in poverty,
new furniture picked from dumpsters
and evenings spent grimacing
through ancient bottles of acerbic liquor
found in a dead lady's basement.
I felt cleaner.
Cobbling together found things
even as I dove through grocery store garbage
in search of fruit
or an unbroken bag of bread
that just might yield
one untouched heel.