smoking cigarettes over breakfast in Hackensack,
we’re chastised by faded generations and decayed advice,
the ember flares of maturation.
a woman tells us we’re “conforming to non-conformity,”
and I wonder if that’s profound or shallow.
I’m too proud to prostitute but prepared to beg;
my memory still lurks on greasy wax paper in restaurants,
like a lion that’s lost his head.
no one to tell my good luck to,
so I snoop around the neighborhood (with extreme caution mind you)
in search of food and friendly waiters,
hoping to catch a glimpse of the ballgame score through bar windows on a high-def tv.
I talk about gas prices and the southern border
with the bartender, who fades out every few minutes to scratch away at a dirt stain on his apron. It’s been 20 minutes since the last drink order.
walking home I mutter to myself –
of meals and friends,
displaced remnants given birth by comparison –
on streets before the world my audience,
so that my words might not be extinguished
before meeting the lips of man.
It’s cold upstairs,
and I haven’t slept well in weeks.