Shucked Oysters

The menus taped to my door.
The vinyl spinning on the record player.
The shucked oyster shells stacked on the plate.

Conversation fell around us like confetti on New Year’s.
It was too loud to hear her name but it sounded like Constance
and I couldn’t help but think that that sounded like Constants
and that falling in love was just too much work,
so I refilled my drink from the bar by the pool

It was hot and the sun was  big and bright
so I wore plaid shorts and headed west
where it was too foggy and cold
to comfortably wear shorts.
(Especially if they’re plaid.)

This city is too crowded to be so lonely,
my friend complained, and I looked at him,
and knew exactly what he meant, but lied instead,
and told him what a great place this was to live.

I don’t think John Keats was
someone I’d want to meet.

You always knew the way to my death star.
You always knew how to blow me up.
We watched the VCR and laughed at the punchlines.
Not realizing everything around us was crumbling.

You are a little lightning bug in a jar.
The night turns in flashes.
Catching last call at the bar.
Stuffing ones into our caches.
Hopping on the last train to Zanzibar.

Found sand in my shoe but I haven’t been to the beach.
Gravel pieces dropped into the hourglass. Boulders of time.
I’m a clogged drain, begging for your sweet and sour refrain.
You’re fractured, flailing, frazzled. Don’t cry, put it on Youtube.
The whispering in my ear. The spread of ink on the page.
Lost track of the rail — we’re eating up our emotional right-of-ways.
Everything surrenders when the street sweepers come and
brush away our dreams. The streetlights bleed blood red, bleating.
La Brea contaminates its arteries, like a junkie, or a fist in a crowd.

The satellites keep a steady watch on my lurching, half-muscled gait,
a-stumblin’ home, perched forward in time. Head full of the saints arguing,
conspiring, crapulous.

I’m here, but I’m not me. John Keats
was not someone I think I’d like to meet.


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