I don't know how much longer I can do this. How I can keep making this old thing new again. Again and again. And new again. And yet again. Again, one more time, and then. The piano solo spells out pain pain pain pain pain and I know that song because I sing that song. I've sung it for so many years it feels real, like a tattoo that doesn't fade, a promise that will never break, that same sad look on your face. And no matter how much whisky, or wine, or vodka, or beer, or regret, or whatever, 'til it's all just back there with the rest of them--the old tunes, the sad times, the hard times, the lost love gained then lost again--they are still with me, they still remain. A rocket reenters the atmosphere, skin heated to glowing, to burning, to shifting form, then disintegrating. No, no longer integrating. Zero attempts at integration. Attempts at entry sped to destruction. An inexplicable ongoing separation. What I mistook for necessary isolation. Punishing and punishing and punishing and punishing. Necessary removal for misbehavior. Failed attempts at relaxation. No longer allowed out among the living, the others. The necessary others. The piano raises its voice. The piano insists, the keys singing out. The piano pounds its own heart into bits. Pounds pounds pounds into tidbits of the sweetest bites. I don't know what I'm doing here anymore. Did I ever? Never ever ever they always told me, always said, with tandem shaking heads. Nope, not this time. I mean, it's great that you think so, but no. Still standing in twenty-five-year-old shadows, all these years later. My feet in concrete up to my knees, trying to make credible excuses. Explanations made of cake and processed grains. The stuff that's killing me, that's truly killing me. Pouring out, puffing out of an open hole, an open mouth. How do I keep remembering how to do it wrong? Sleepwalking toward my own demise, I stop to buy cigarettes. Shaping my love affair into my decline, then into a love affair with an imagined memory. Afraid to know. Afraid to let it go. To allow it all to burn away. The piano now saying Oh, for heaven's sake. Everything old is still around and it's not doing anyone any good anyhow!