The Split Man

I am the happy married man
the junkie in the street begging
the house-owner sitting at my computer
in the bathroom sticking a needle in my arm

loving my wife wearing new clothes
no shower in weeks, dirty underwear crying
taking psychiatric meds so I don’t shoot dope
waiting on the corner for the dope man to fix me

writing in the house while waiting for my hard-working wife
smoking a cigarette down till it burns my fingers
watching a movie in bed with my wife
alone in bed, cigarette burns on the sheets

I have everything I need, car, motorcycle, bicycle,
there is a knapsack I carry with all my belongings in it
my wife and I eat at a very nice Chinese restaurant
the coffee house on the corner has a bathroom I shoot dope in

I walk through my house, so many rooms, so many riches,
the holes in my shoes leak water when it rains
I pray to a god that keeps me safe
I believe in a packet of powder that takes my troubles away

my hearing aids help me to hear what I could not before
I see the birds in the trees where I beg but I cannot hear them
making supper for my wife pleases me and she smiles
in my little room there is a small empty refrigerator

my wife and I go the the cape, to the country, we pray and play
I unwrap my needle from the handkerchief, I am a prisoner
my daughter, my granddaughter, my wife, all the loves in my life,
I shake the powder into the spoon, I am alone in a dirty bathroom

I sit at my new laptop writing this poem thinking of everything
I close my eyes, smoke a cigarette, I have trouble urinating
my wife and I are surrounded by our dreams and we touch
I shudder awake, sweat on my skin, life is a nightmare

I am a split man, this half of me dances with joy
I am a split man, this half of me is dying day by day
I can choose, I can stand by a lake holding the hand of my wife
or my choices are gone, I probe my arm looking for a vein

I am a split man, a split man, a split man,
There is a medicine that knits me into one man
but in my mind lurks a demon that wants to shoot heroin
if I stick the medicine under my tongue my wife and I will laugh.

if I shoot heroin my wife will cry and I will go to the street
a split man like me has all the choices in the world
unless I take the powder road that takes my choice away
a life, a wife, warmth and comfort, living and loving

a split man, a split man, I work to make myself whole
yet the abyss looks into my soul and I must not gaze back
all my laughter will cease, my breath will become fetid
if I split, if I split, my own life shall cease

I’ll fall apart and become a beast, the sun will go down
but my wife lights me up and I become whole, no more
will I split man, I’ll treasure my life, keeping my wife
the simplicity of domesticity is the true wealth that heals

the crack, I’d rather have clam chowder with my wife
than that awful powder that splits up my life.