Richie said
he doesn't want to hurt anyone
he just likes to have an old jar;
to spend the sun he saved up all day
by the canal with Caroline;
walking around the Ranelagh alleyways,
his feet bruising in new shoes.

Richie showed us
how he booted the head of the man who mugged him
like taking a penalty kick
like an explosion of every rage he ever felt
for lost friends, bums beaten while they slept in doorways,
an old stolen walkman, a broken bottle of Smirnoff,
one kick for a lifetime of lying down
and taking it.

Richie's been drunk for two weeks
without going home.
He's not sure what this new thing is -
blood pumping, adrenaline clarity, the fantasy
of his moment of righteous violence.
"If anyone else tries that on me,
I'll kick his brain through that upstairs window."

Richie talked
for an hour, while the legal drunkards
walked past us and the drizzle started.
The lamppost light was green in the leaves above us.
After we left, Lindsay said, "He's lonely."
Most of my friends would never have sat with him,
or shaken his hand,
or become known by name
to someone who knows exactly what he is
in this bullshit alcoholic city.

This is original work

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