Four Dollars

I had a friend once
who could not afford his rent
until he had smoked his cigarettes
and been drunk three nights a week.

He had a way with words
and sometimes would say,
"If you paid me a dollar
for every time you left the light on,
I'd be able to afford last month's rent."

He had a way with women.
Once they shamefully bowed out
the morning after, he was generous
and spread his wisdom to me
without prompting.
"If you paid me a dollar
for every time I never called a girl back,
I'd be able to get drunk every night."
The women who followed him home
have never been my type.

He had a way with his body;
he could drink and smoke and huff
and inhale and ingest and in-vein
anything I ever imagined existed.
He would quite often offer these dark gifts to me,
and when I even more often refused
he would say,
"If you paid me a dollar
for every time you were a huge pussy,
I would be high all the time."

When he would say these things,
I would look inside myself and ponder
how many dollars I would have
if I had kept my mouth shut tighter,
if I had waited for her just a little longer,
if I had not been so drunk.

My friend never paid his rent on time,
he always brought a different girl home,
and he was always drunk or high.
He was always poor too;
but, if he had a dollar for every heart I'd broken—
well, he wouldn't be rich,
but those I might have paid him.

They'd buy a pack of cigarettes at least.