I remember I tripped

and skinned my knee on the curb,

beneath the neon signglow

and as my last bottle shattered

on the pavement beside me

and I looked at the hole

in my slacks and the wet bloodsmudge there

I said, interiorly, you clumsy fuck,

and exteriorly, just plain fuck.

Some pretty folks in day-glo evening dresses

looked on, judging a bit.


And as I sat there, failed son, spinning,

mad at my fingers for not being needles,

mad at my saliva for not being bleach,

mad at my feet for not being steady

(but how could they, really), mad at

my beer for not staying, miraculously,

in the bottle, I looked up at the

signs in all their bright rainbow,

and I remember tripping, dissociating,

thinking, interiorly- “I wonder what

the noble gasses make of it, being

caught in those tubes, hocking

beer for a living?” and,

exteriorly, just plain fuck.


And this led, inexorably,

to a little more negative self-talk

outside the bar, mad at my

creatively dressed audience,

for moving on, judgment complete,

and at myself again,

for not even knowing then

that there were blessings

that could be counted,

even while coagulating,

by whatever sordid light

there was to count them–


argon, like from the argonauts,

neon, sounds like Creon in a way,

xenon and on and on and on…

krypton, like from that Superman

stuff (wonder how he felt about

good’ol Jor-El!), radon, all the

nobles, Jay-San, no that’s not one,

all first-born sons probably,

debased into illuminating a

standard issue failing-to-please-

daddy-issue drunk thinking,

interiorly, how the nobles

have fallen so low, and finally,

exteriorly, a howl at the moon-

where is that spark

that will light me

up one night?


Michael J. Galko

Michael J. Galko is a scientist and poet who lives and works in Houston, TX. He has been a juried poet of the Houston Poetry Fest three of the last four years and is a 2019 Pushcart Award nominee. In the past year he has had poems published or accepted for publication at descant, San Pedro River Review, Gargoyle, Gulf Coast, Defunkt Magazine, Riddled with Arrows, Poetry WTF!?, and Sonic Boom, among other journals.

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