Conformity

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.

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