The Night Before I Left

April 5, 2011
By , Hastings on Hudson, NY
Eyes glinting like polished bathroom floors,
Lighters flicking in suburban parks
Supposed to be deserted,
Neurons losing their exited state,
The Vegas strip at sunrise.

Recollections quickly fading,
He was unable to make himself out
Amidst the haze of memory.
Just a halfhearted outline scrawled on the mirror,
Condensation on his fingertips
And headlights like calling cards,
Combing over the parks,
The police were the night’s excitement,
Scattering those too alive to exhale.
Surveying the bathroom,
He did not glance at the mirror
But the corner of his eye was dismaying.
Latent, pride and pain brewed cocktail tears.
Too fast to catch the youth stashed in the sinew
He stumbled into the bedroom,
Misdemeanors be d***ed,
Animal instincts welcomed back with enthusiasm.

Pain was for mere mortals,
Not the kid whose pyramid was a capstone.
Ghost hits wafting into subconscious lungs,
Jostling sounds and incoherent motion,
His last thought, before the inevitable collapse,
Was to wonder if teenagers were the mold or the molded,
And how he truly despised most everything about us.
This did not bold well for the rest of his life
But the bed sheets beckoned and he recognized their allure,
Politely curling his body around the pool of vomit
Covering a small corner of his bed,
Sleep collapsed on his chest
Simply to reflect his fears back at him.

What use would experience be were it not for memory?
His dreams left him a slightly indie Ansell Adams
Wannabe photographer
With bangs and something to hide.
She smoked all of his cigarettes like they were a message,
She was all that he wanted.

He didn't know that a shadow could not be beautiful,
His was missing at the time.

His childhood jeered: “Ah, but to be in love!”
It begged for answers to questions
No adult had ever been able to give.
He could no longer remember what they were.

So he simply spoke, his voice a white flag:

"Maybe life is like watching a street magician.
It's all about misdirection,
Only knowing that what's next will be amazing.
Trying to outsmart the magician,
Discover his secrets,
But when you do you're disappointed,
The appeal is lost,
And suddenly --
You're looking at a man in shabby clothes
With a rabbit strapped to the underside of his table,
Pandering for money on the streets."

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