I'm a long way from the days
of women throwing their underwear at me,
of riding in the back of limousines jacked-up on blow
and pills and denial, too shit-faced to find my fight gate number.
Waking up in strange beds with stranger people
wearing someone else's clothes, or none at all -
trying hard to avoid chemical withdrawal, police interest
and my tormented self.
For years I neglected my own redemption
because I knew the price of freedom was death.
On the way to the forests of Bountiful
I stop outside the Utah Symphony and Opera,
press my ear against a wall
and listen to the muffled sounds of an orchestra
performing The Creatures of Prometheus.
The cool Salt Lake air and the sounds of Luwig Van
more than make up for the barriers that separate us.
The concert ends, I stub my roach and make my way to the exit.
I sit on a short stone wall with an empty cup,
a mini-flashlight between my teeth
and Dostoyevsky on my lap.
Being legally insane doesn't deter people from shouting
'get a fucking job' as they leave the auditorium
on an perfect summer Saturday night -
it perpetuates it.
I pass the Temple Square and the free AIDS clinic,
pause under the neon marquee of a 24-hour liquor
and count my winnings.
My cup is half full.
Which means about two meals or a pint of cheap vodka.
The choices of the Steppenwolves.
I make the trek into the forest,
lay on my back and drink the fermented potato mash.
I stare up through contented pines at an avalanche of stars
and absorb the magnificent sublimity of my own death.
And I am redeemed.
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