Michigan Boy 68 & Faker by Leah Mueller

Michigan Boy 68

It’s fun to be
a narcissistic alcoholic
until the cleaver
comes down.

You’ll know this
soon, even harder
than you knew it before.

Your voice on the phone,
wasted before 2 PM.

I had to decide
between bronchitis
and seasonal depression
and chose the former.

Had to self-medicate.

You’re the same,
only different.
Everything goes inside you,
nothing comes out.

Side-eyes search for
a void that stays empty.

I struggle for air,
but your breath
never reaches my lungs.

You laughed, once,
asked if I thought you were
beyond redemption,

so corrupt there
was no turning back.
or turning away.

When you sit on your bed,
greasy gray hair
stuffed inside your
thrift-store cap,

playing Townes Van Zandt
on your last remaining guitar,
remember how hard
I struggled not to answer.


Guns and
broken treaties.

The winner ready
for the next
contest, because
he always wins.

Meanwhile, I eat
every grain of rice,
remembering the 1980s
macrobiotic guru,

who claimed
I was irredeemable if
I wasted even one.

I read about sanpaku,
when the whites
of eyes glow
underneath the cornea.

A sign of dangerous imbalance.

Victim or killer,
perhaps both.

1978. My eyes
turned upward
in the college yearbook:
that same expression.

Now, years later,
eyes balanced

in my mirror, dyed hair
and the remnants
of summer skin.

How did I learn
to keep it inside?

Leah Mueller is an indie writer and spoken word performer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of two chapbooks and four books. Her latest book, a memoir entitled “Bastard of a Poet” was published by Alien Buddha Press in June, 2018. Leah’s work appears or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, The Spectacle, Outlook Springs, Crack the Spine, Drunk Monkeys, Atticus Review, Your Impossible Voice, and other publications. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp humor poetry contest.

6 Replies to “Michigan Boy 68 & Faker by Leah Mueller”

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.