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i prefer
the company
of old drunks

possibly because
they call me
“kid”

but probably because
in them i see
handmade men

men who spent
their lifetimes
working with their hands
loving with their hands
fighting with their hands
burying their dead
with their hands

men whose handshakes
mean everything
even when offered
as nothing

they’ll tell you
softly,
almost embarassedly,
how they got shot
in dubya-dubya
eye-eye

about the mills
and their wives
and their kids,
especially the ones
who made it through
school to become
accountants and lawyers

but their wives
are dead
and the kids
moved on
while the mills
collapsed
as they will, soon

so we trade rounds
and reminisce
in the glow of neon
and try to forget
being forgotten

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