October 2005 / Volume Six / Issue Five
Luis Rivas
Apt. #5

you know
I still think about
those times
when you used to
come home from work
and go through
three or four
24-ounce tall cans
of Coors or Budweiser

you loved cheep beer

after the second
or third one
it would start
and I could see it
starting and

your eyelids drooping
your face
ugly and unshaven
with a dumb grin
thinly widening
revealing missing teeth
and wrinkles
accentuating your

and you'd turn off
the TV and
turn on the
bathroom radio
playing The Doors

you loved Jim Morrison

singing along
as best you could
in broken English
banging your fists and
imitating the song's tempo
on the walls

the smile would go away

my mom
would come home
from work
to this
and get angry
and almost
have the confidence
to confront you
and argue


it would be
too late
and you'd be
too drunk
and my metal
baseball bat
from little league
would end up in
your grip

and our
Van Nuys apartment
would emit
disturbing sounds
frightful sounds of war
glass shattering
walls shaking
children crying

then you'd put down the bat
and almost look guilty


ashamed, sweaty
torn shirt
over beer cans
with furniture overturned
the TV set on its face
your sons in tears
trembling in shock
your wife
defiant, pretending
to be in control, fearless
and feeding her children
sugar cubes to calm
their nerves
but with wet eyes
that could never hide
any fragment of truth

then you ran your fist
through the living room window

I still remember
all that blood
spilling out from
your forearm
a continuous stream
like dark red piss

but it didn't seem to bother

it's as if every time
you got drunk
and certainly no one
could touch you
not your shit-job
your sons
not all the bills
your wife and the
humbling and insulting
fact that she
has a better job
the rent
your annoying in-laws
and certainly no one

I remember your eyes
right then
dark brown, beautiful
lazy insanity
glimmering like two huge specks
of grounded coffee

I remember you
that way
strong, nasty, bleeding
unfeeling, dangerous
and I wanted to be
that way
just like that
just like you

the way I saw it
was that if life
had the ability to turn
you into one of
those people from that day
if life could assign
either role
drunk or victim
then I would much rather
stop being the victim

I've been drinking
ever since