Screams in God’s Pillow
God, I have a friend that sells heroin to feed his daughter.
God, there are grown men and women who hang out all day at public parks,
Who stay there all day because there’s nowhere else to be.
The men talk about pussy and junk and drunk and drugs and fuck the police, and fuck the mayor, and fuck the senators, and fuck the governors, and fuck the president and vice president, and fuck the speaker of the house, and
While the women sit and smoke and smoke and smoke and watch the children.
God, we stand outside carry-outs in the cold, suck on tobacco sticks and bullshit,
And the thick stink of bud, chew, and booze jumps from tongues.
God, we watch from that same carry-out as drunk old booze hounds with cartoon smiles and big goofy
drunken eyes stumble through the parking lot with legs made of rubber.
They trip back out the glass door with a case of beer and a good mood.
God, I live around bars,
Bars that have beautiful neon signs that are big and gorgeous and blinding.
God, the bad music coming from the bars vibrates in a way that makes the skeletons of men and women sing to the same muffled distant hum
God, I live among fast food joints that are open until midnight,
Gas stations open until one,
Drug dealers don’t sleep until the sun comes up
Because early bird aching druggies and junkies come at twilight for fix, hit, bang, or bump.
God, I know a girl who was touched and bled and still bleeds
And still wears the same shame day after day after day after day.
God, I knew a girl that disappeared and popped back up as a dead body washed up from the river.
God, I have friends that live on the highway with the road kill and in flop houses with fat cockroaches and skin and bone addicts and hungry dogs who creep around hoping for scraps in trash cans.
God, I know children who are dirty, shirtless, shoeless, sockless,
Who run around on concrete all day long,
Who are raised by street litter, blacktop pavement, pebbles, day time television and bloody stubbed toes,
Who come back to their parents at night, hungry, with bleeding feet stuck with shards of glass.
God, the poor are fed up, some hungry, some high, some open knives and stare at bare knuckles and get pissed and scream.
Will you listen?
God, are you screaming?
Have you ever shut your bedroom door, flopped down on your bed and screamed into your pillow?
God, what do you think of Nick?
He stumbled into the apartment,
High on heroin,
Dirt covered pants,
Flip flops on his feet and track marks up his arms.
He cried about suicide, suicide, suicide, homicide, suicide, prison time, prison time, homicide, and his four homeless children, ran back out of the apartment, up the street, fell down, vomited down his chest and arms, got back up, found footing and rushed back up the street,
Across the street
Can Nick find redemption?
God, I’m trying to speak to you directly.
God, I imagine that over all the world, the angels are crying.
I imagine they’re weeping over every empty belly and bowl of every hungry child.
God, I imagine the angels are cutting artery and vein, bleeding willingly, over the heads of every sad whore that walks the streets
Red eyed and high or hung over
Hoping that they’ll wake up the next day, sober, see the dry blood on their foreheads and howl
I imagine that over every little girl that sees a bottle of pills and is reminded of mother, they groan.
God, I imagine that above every sad man who stumbles home, high or drunk, sagging, haggard,
Dragging their feet on pavement with nothing more on their minds than sleep and the next night’s high, the angels scream the same scream that I scream.
God, I ask you again,
Are you screaming?
© Ian Bush
Ian Bush was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio, where he currently attends Shawnee State University, actively works on his poetry and hosts a regular poetry reading. His work mainly deals with life in poverty, particularly in Appalachia.