• Tyler Bauer

Worn

I favor adding to a story

rather than starting one that's new

by living simply

to rage against machines


like the mysterious coffee-stained wall,

or the strange drawing of a rocket

sprawled across the left bathroom stall

an original copy of Trout Fishing in America

yellowed pages and all,

sitting on the dusty shelf from fall to fall


or when I tripped and stumbled

straight into the unforgiving thorns of a defensive bush

I escaped without holes, but my cotton shirt

wasn’t so lucky


now you see a tear in the cloth

where I think of Kentucky,

and the cool breeze of Autumn

that blows through the pines

in mid-October with the friends I had

then.


the left corner of my white pillowcase,

with its everlasting paw prints

from a summer rainstorm turned mud trot

somewhere close to The Grand Tetons


now you see a peculiar stain in that place

I rest my head

but I smell damp fur

with the cold of my shirt stuck to my back

as the windows fogged and rain turned to snow

outside.


these talismans from a different time

where I wear mismatched patches

over split seams with pride

on my sweat stained down jacket, snagged wool beanie

or the rust covered Westfalia van

full of faded Grateful Dead stickers

and sagging in the back


a flannel shirt that seems to hold

the smell of campfire in every fiber

even when it no longer smells of smoke

to anyone else


I favor adding to this story

rather than starting one that's new

by living simply

to rage against machines



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