the nineteenth wonder of Jersey City

Even my hindsight has astigmatism.
If I don’t look at my past
through the right lenses,
I get a headache.

Sometimes I pretend that my life
could be different than it is.
I let myself slip and do things
some people don’t think twice about
like getting married
or starting school.
I slip and then the ground
crumbles just as I take a breath.
I shoild have known better;
I’ve seen rock bottom
from both sides, now.

Riches to rags, as I say,
and I can’t even claw my way
into uncomfortably middle-class.
Poverty isn’t even a cycle.
It’s a pit.
And it does things to you
that take more than a few paychecks
to heal from.

Hypervigilance causes at least
half of my problems,
but it also fixes at least half.
It evens out.
Sometimes people wonder why
I’ve got plans A through Z,
and then they marvel
when I roll with every sucker punch,
from being late for my own wedding
right up through
my father’s murder.
I shouldn’t have been able to see these things,
but I had.
And I didn’t even need a pack of cards to do it.
Then again, I’ve always been
a bad statistic.