There he is,
the permanent 23 year old,
forever in his own Private Idaho.
The Viper room is his landmark,
but now the ‘r’ is blacked-out
and loose,
so all it says is ‘Vipe’ room.
On the pipe-cracked sidewalk he sees
and good intentions,
and wonders if that’s what
his parents were like.

It’s the middle of Summer
and he feels the pangs in his heart
of letting go;
of a father who wasn’t a father,
of a boy who had to bring in
the money because he was the only
one who was anchored down to Earth.
He can smell the ghost of Rain
and he feels arms
wrapping around his shoulders,
kissing his cheek with guilt
seeping into his skin.

He watches a dog crawl out of an
empty lot
on the other side of the street
and remembers why
he protested the science tests,
lent his hopeful smile to commercials.

He isn’t unfamiliar
with the bad side of the world,
hadn’t been since he was an abused child,
and when he sees kids
who remind him of himself,
shooting false hope into their veins,
he wonders if they’ll end up like him -
wandering dirty LA streets.
♠ ♠ ♠
I love River Phoenix so much.