Corner of Desperate and Cheap

In the beginning, there wasn’t much of anything
You had a hotel parked on the corner of Desperate and Cheap,
holes in the roof you swore you’d patch but never did,
Hourly rates for those that came and went
Monthly rates for those that never left.
You had carpet in the lobby the color of wasteful regret
the color of a bar floor at 2AM
the color of her hair after the accident.
The walls whispered in burnt coffee tones, the stairs spoke
the ceiling fans were sacrosanct, they
scattered the smoke to as not to disturb
what few fire alarms still worked.
Nothing much mattered.

You had fights snarl up and spin out
on the front step of the establishment
you had villains prowling about outside,
denied harbourage once and forever, their faces
joining the growing wall behind the lobby desk
of those dire enough to be turned away on sight.
Eventually the list grew so great,
it became difficult to tell.
Some of them got haircuts and checked in anyways.
The clerk you hired on never was too sharp.

This is where a dozen dozen dreams died
in fever sleep and rose like screaming firebirds
from the ashtrays.
Between these walls, methadone exorcisms,
the briefest glimpse of sun
and love songs burning brighter
than halogen Shakespeare sonnets.
Brighter than the buoys calling out
to step lightly around the sharpest rocks
the sunken frames.
This is where they fell asleep
sharing a single stolen blanket and half a pillow each
dripping Canadian Club and shedding regrets
like snakeskin.

In the beginning, there wasn’t much of anything.
The ending wouldn’t stray far from the script
once the eight groaning floors were brought low
by a bloody balance book, bad decisions
and stonefaced demo crews
who ate lunch over your bones.
After the funeral, a fence sprang up
and shiny steel fingers began grasping
up and up, out of the grave
towards the sun.

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