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Poetry #44
(published June 14, 2001)
Getting Free
by Brett Richard Fennessy

With Christmas approaching, in pre-solstice dark
I'll go drink with the people who live in the park

The businessmen sneer as they file past to work
to their endless vocations, but who is the jerk?
the oblivious drunk or obedient drone
and which is the really more elegant home?
The magnificent sweep of the park's piney green
or a cramped crowded grey concrete living machine

And think of the scene you'll present at your death.
How will you look as you draw your last breath?
a grey beard and a grin and a ragged fundoshi
or suit-matching pallor struck down by karoshi

I've ridden the buses and taken the trains
I worked till I've addled what once I called brains
I'll just call in sick, I can't work in the dark
and go drink with the people who live in the park

I'll just call in sick, just for one day,
they probably won't even know I'm away
I'll nip down to the store for a jug of white wine
in the park the cheap stuff is considered quite fine.
I'll wear some old jeans and my faded old hat
my new friends won't be dressed much different than that.

Maybe some rotgut, I'll make this a spree
maybe my one day will stretch into three.
My family won't notice (they don't when I'm there),
the dog is the only one who might care.

A week will go by and I'll be so relaxed
I won't even care when I learn I've been axed.
My boss is an asshole, the job a dead-end,
I worked but I never have money to spend

I'll give up my liver, I don't need a brain
I'll sit by the river, in sunshine and rain
at noon and at midnight, when cold and when hot,
it will not be my turn, I will have gone to pot.
I'll scrounge when I'm hungry, I'll never be dry.
A holy oblivious eternal high

And if any should ask you what happened to me
say I'm gone, I dropped out, I'm no more now, I'm free
and You, when you're tired, it's cold and it's dark
come drink with the Free Men, we live in the park

Fundoshi: a loincloth
Karoshi: death from overwork
Brett Richard Fennessy lives in Tokyo.

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