THE CUSTOMS OF THE MAD
I’d developed this tremendous hunger
That was always with me.
I’d eat and eat and eat,
But nothing filled the gut.
And if it did,
It was only for a matter of minutes.
I’d come across some work the night before,
Slinging drinks at some night club.
I had a pocket full of change from tips,
Which amounted to some real money,
Like eighteen bucks.
Then I was going into this place at midnight,
With my friend Andrew.
I never had a work visa in those days,
But the guy said, “I can’t pay cash in hand,
But I’ll sort you out.”
I figured maybe a check or something.
Hell, a case of beer
Or a few bottles of wine would do just fine.
So I decided to splurge,
And go to the local Subway,
Get my hands on a real sandwich.
I put on my sweatshirt and walked over there.
It was right across the street.
I stood at the counter,
Only one girl ahead of me.
She had just gotten there too,
And was beginning to make her order,
To the woman behind the counter.
“I need, um, something without meat.”
“you could do chicken sandwich?”
“no, no. I don’t want to eat meat. It’s good Friday.”
“oh, oh. But that for Muslim, no?”
“no, for Christians. I can’t eat meat. Only fish,
but I already ate fish today.”
“you do veggie sandwich?”
“yeah, okay. I’ll do that.”
“do you want cheese?”
“no, no animal products on good Friday.”
I wondered what the hell it all meant,
Why people did the things they did.
Why they followed these customs,
These practices, these fool schemes?
What difference was there,
Between one living thing and another?
We’d all live and we’d all die.
You either chose to kill or chose not to kill,
Either way it was all just actions
In an action-based world.
She paid for her sandwich and walked off.
Was she content, happier?
Maybe she was, but who knew?
I ordered my sandwich,
paid and started in on it,
Hoping it would quell my hunger.