Bull seal of a man he was. Flipper-huge
Hands and slung gut betokened a child’s
Monstrous hunger for pleasure and love,
For spicy grub that gutted his stomach,
For booze that fuelled his rage’s white fire,
For sex that sired nine at nine and twenty
And handed him so many cases of clap
The nurse let him swab his cock by himself.
Titanic, his body’s heat was volcanic;
In the brittle pale air he’d stream and steam
While the rest of us hunkered and shivered.
That sinister smile and wicked cackle
Belied pain that had him popping codeine
Pills by the oversized fistful, downing
Bismuth by the cup to buffer the drugs,
Smoking ounces of skunk weed to cool
His hot moods. Once the backaches and foot cramps
Got louder than his armada of meds
Could handle and the dull day-to-day drag
Of work palled, he called it off and hauled ass
South and west to downtown east Lotus Land.
After a winter of gentle drizzle
And grey (for us, black and bitter, broken
By blizzards), he turned up again, a shrunken
Shell of his great gregarious self, gaunt,
Hollowed and wan from a season of jamming
Junk in his veins in the precinct of hell
Known as Hastings and Main. —Just when it seemed
He’d found a hole in the ice, he was gone,
Never more to be seen, flogging that death’s
Head horse out west once again, into
The butane flame of a setting white sun.