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                    DEPRAVED INDIFFERENCE  
                    WALTZING IN BLUE 
                    YEAR ZERO



JUDGE Mr. LANEGAN, I sentence you as a habitual offender to eighteen months in prison, one month for every year of your short shitty life. Good luck son. But wait a minute, I can see here on your rap sheet that every one of these offences are drug or alcohol related... Madam prosecutor, I am shocked that it did not occur to you that this boy needs help.....

And so it began

Who are you calling a boy, mister?

I took umbrage at that

I was an idiot
wilfully ignorant of nearly everything
but no on could have told me that

I wasn’t having it
or anything for that matter
I hated most people

And authorities? Forget it
I was an exceptionally
hard case a confirmed

Misanthrope even
though I couldn’t
have told you what that meant

Or how to spell it
as always my main concerns
concerned getting over

Getting high, getting
fucked and
getting the fuck out

That was it. Not necessarily
in order yes I
was an idiot, barely literate

Untethered from conventional
boundaries and
never smart

But no one could
have ever told me that

No fucking way


against an unknown agent?

                                                Safety is as safety
                                                does and
                                                fortune belongs to

The bold but only
fools rush in
where angels fear

                                                           To tread you
                                                 were one of a kind
                                                             the way you

Knocked them dead
in Brussels
was something to see

                                             the crowd eating out
                                                            the palm of
                                                  your sweaty hand

You sang like a
God and left
them begging for more

                                                  But you wouldn’t
                                                                 give it to
                                                       them you were

Already gone to the
next city
the endless game

                              Always on and
                              on and on

                              And on


and I am rootless again

Blissfully selfish

Too slothful, impatient, strung out, rude, someone said

                          what does that really
mean anyway?

Apparently kindness is a requirement if one

wishes to be human here

                                    empathy, open heartedness and caring have never been a strong suit

I’ve heard it said that it’s never too late to change
                                    but the damage has been done

                          Year zero

I’m keeping a conflict journal
a list of my wrongdoings
so there won’t be any disputes

And I can take my punishment
like a man

                          When I’m called out on the carpet
                          in the registrars office

At hell

Songwriter and musician, Mark LANEGAN is the author of I Am The Wolf: Lyrics and Writings (Hachette Books, 2017), Sing Backwards and Weep: A Memoir (White Rabbit, 2020) and Leaving California (Heartworm Press, 2021).


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Partner to a press called Tenement, Hotel is a publications series for new approaches to fiction, non fiction & poetry & features work from established & emerging talent. Hotel provides the space for experimental reflection on literature’s status as art & cultural mediator. 

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