11th March, 2016 (smoking outside a pub in Dublin)

by Brendan Strong

In the soak

can barely stagger

over to ask for a

light to spark

the half smoked

cigarette

dangling from

a dribbling mouth.

The end

rough

with tobacco strands

waves around

bobbing on

a sea                          of inebriation

undulates around

over and through never

meeting the flame

that might raise

some smoke

or dry out

some of the soak.

Pockets empty not
from lack of empathy
but from the flood that
passed by, a tide
earlier, that took
what coins we had
for luck and coffee and
maybe drugs
– who the fuck are we to judge? –
just finishing up
tired and high
going back to a home that’s dry.

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