Let’s just call it what it is:
small talk and a symbiotic relationship.
You play the part of a friend,
a part once played by a better actor.
At a desperate time, you came along
and you were so like him, it seemed at first,
that I had hope once more for this little production.
And you are like him,
his shadow almost,
a shade changing more with every day
short and long and not at all.
And you are not him,
but what choice do I have?
You talk to me, twisting a knife into my skin,
piercing flesh and bone and marrow
till the tip pricks my heart
and I remember what life is.
And I pay for your services,
feeding your habits.
And I had always thought
I would never buy a drunk a drink.
And yet here I stand, stricken with realization,
while you drown yourself to death
I think I’m starting to understand:
I don’t have to watch you do this.
I can say my peace and go on my way.
You’re a man. It’s up to you to choose to follow.
But, no, I don’t have to be an audience,
for the second time,
to a slow, painful demise of another player
on this imperfect stage.
I don’t have to watch you fail to live up to
tasks asked of every actor.
I don’t have to be here when the curtain falls
and instead of applause, there is only pain
for an actor on whom the curtain shall never rise again.