A crumpled cigarette conjures the night before. All those bottles of beer. Those shots of vile gasoline—flaming, expensive, and the root cause of the hangover that now bores into these bones of mine like a drill. My left arm is withered and feeble like one of the limbs belonging to the Elephant Man. That black and white freak with his poncy hood and dribbling, fat tongue. Oh, I don’t mean to be so mean it’s just how I am when I’m hungry. I haven’t eaten in twelve hours. I’m nearly dead. Twelve hours ago, the humdrum streets transformed into something reeking of tangible possibility. Mainly due to drunken optimism, but also the flashes of flesh that danced beneath a drowning moon that kissed me like the lusting tongue of a lover who visits in dreams. It never lasts, but for the briefest of moments, my heart was malleable and not cold as it so often is. In that giddy haze that now escapes me, those with jobs pretended they didn’t have jobs, and those without jobs imagined that they were something more than the misguided prols they are. As I blink and stutter, the hit of black coffee summons flashes of faces. Like sparrows, they dart in and out of my memory. Like untameable shrews, they evade my grasp, stirring within me a need to be seen while remaining forever hidden. As it was, and still is, speaking my truth without desecrating the purity of my secrets is my only desire, don’t you know? It’s the perpetual conflict that gets me out of bed in the morning. Nothing—ever—should get me out of bed in the morning, but this works every time, so I seek out its magic the way a beggar seeks shiny coins between the cracks in the pavement down in purgatory’s circle.