SPOTLIGHT Everyday Defeat by Richard LeDue

An Expiration Date Isn’t Always a Metaphor for Death

Too often, our lives sour like milk,
ruining unsuspecting stomachs,
and turning tongues into scared snakes
with no where to hide-
the wrath of our Sunday school god gone
putrid. But black coffee helps,
Friday nights listening
to dead musicians mixed with whisky
helps, watching the leaves die
just to come back helps,
silence reminding us that we can still make noise helps
too, yet I still get so goddamn sick of it sometimes,
can feel my bones wishing they were dust
so the wind could do all the work.


I helped clean up your crackers again,
while you buried your head
between couch cushions,
but not out of shame, but because
of the pressure sensation.

I helped by cooking your same brand burger
for supper everyday,
cutting it up into sixteen squares
on top of bread with ketchup and mustard,
reminding me how tomato products
gives me heartburn these days.

I helped put your socks on after the bath-
my bent back whispering warnings
about old age I pretend to ignore,
and my greying beard pointing back at me,
like someone with an abundance of blame,
every time I look in the mirror.

I helped you go to sleep each night,
afraid that scratching my nose is too loud,
burying a burgeoning cough
deep down my throat,
which feels like it has nothing
much left to say,
except, “I love you” again.

Half Empty

When I’m 80 years old
(if I last another 40 birthdays),
it’s unlikely
I’ll regret the nights I barely remember
through a whisky haze,
but the dry moments, I’ll never forget,
wishing for a glass half full.

Moral Inflation

Paying $3 for a cup of coffee
is the closest I get to praying
these days, as the tip jar is fuller
than my Sunday School soul
that once made me feel so special
placing money
in the collection plate at church,
only to be indoctrinated a second time
years later
on how minimum wage
defiles the free market
by a man who also preached
against the electric company’s
monopoly and other economic evils
which have yet to engulf me in flames
as I place my change in the tip jar.


I should have kept all my action figures
in their original packages,
but instead have a collection of dusty soldiers,
missing their tiny guns,
as if some small government implemented
fake gun control —
their limbs are loose from time
and surviving war fields,
where the dead never stayed dead,
diminishing their value
because collectors rather
a twenty year old brand new smell
or something to hang on their wall,
like your yesterday was a piece of art
to be sold and appreciated.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s