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I revisit that night and
I don't know why
I don't know why it took so long for you
to get there for one thing
I parked
Which took some time
But I found a spot
I won't be towed
And I walked to the hotel entrance
and waited
far too long
I took out a cigarette
And I bet I smoked the whole thing.

You never showed up which was strange.
Did I start to smoke another?
I thought that I was being polite
waiting on the curbside
Eventually R. and his girlfriend showed up
Super late
But polite which was no longer something to
expect from anyone anymore I found

They collected me and we went up to the
Penthouse
And there you were
Did you race like a daemon
breaking those presumptuous,
Certainly useless
Laws pertaining to Physics
just to get up Fairfax Avenue?
You ran to get to a party
that you were only invited to
because of me?
Without me.
This is not normal is it?

Your excuse upon my arrival was ******.
Idiotic.
I walked away.

On the balcony
I stood with you and R. again
We had avoided one another
throughout the night
yet always collided back
like opposing atoms.
Was that my doing?
I really think that that one was
your trick.

One of you had a joint
And I thought to myself
O *******
Thank God
It went around once
maybe twice
And then became a two-step
Without me
(Again!)
Back and forth between you two.

I was
standing there quietly waiting
like it was a game of jump rope
Watching for the moment
when the rope would let me in
My turn would come up eventually cuz
I'm standing right here.

I think one of you
R. probably
Handed me the joint
now dead
A stiff speck of rolling paper stuck between
*******
And the two of you
turned and walked away from me
Without a care
Brothers-in-arms

Well this isn't that sort of party.
Boots on the ground.
Blood in the sand.
Pack on your back.
Gun raised.
The stench of iron and salty offal.
Heroes in The Battle of Normandy.
I am not an Axis soldier and i know that you are not Allies

This Chateau is modeled after one
in the Loire
so the legend has it.
And this is a totally different thing altogether.

Wasn't your father, a fireman and you, his firestarter?
Didn't you watch him
put out your flames on the local tv news
while you lay on the carpet chin in hands, full color?

Did I follow you both back inside?
I think that I didn't
I hope that I didn't
How do you follow that?
I know that I walked to the balcony's edge
And settled into watching the rings to my right
The smoke rings from the cigarette
of the Marlboro Man
perching above Sunset Blvd.
what have I done?
how has it come to this so fast?

I may have joined in
Blowing rings from up above
I made O's very well in those days
One after another
One inside another
The billboard too
We're strange amigos we
Our rings float away unfurling
into thinner mists
While the white and red lights of cars
down below us
Rush into the sparkling night air
East
West
Somewhere other than here
My circles disappear above my head
His circles too.

Did he seem to you like a happy cowboy?
Rugged and determined
Those unsentimental eyes
Narrowing fearlessly at a blank manifest destiny
O
O
O
O
It's endless but I can keep up.

Looking at him from were I stand
I know that I will need
some of what he's got
to get through this
situation.
I thought that I had it on me.
I thought that I had packed it.
But somehow it's taken its leave or
Gone Missing.

He's not even real
This eminence to my right
Just wood and paper and
a mechanism making steam look like a plume of carcinogens
O
O
O
O
Yet I look at him a bit jealously regardless
Funny to feel that way about a billboard
Maybe cuz he's kind of a man
Maybe it's his hat
But it's true nevertheless
His rough hew cardboard evokes

the self determination at all costs
here above Sunset.

I will leave this penthouse
with its sick yellowy light
Dash into the elevator again
Make my escape
Light another and
Blow those rings.
Messaging
Mayday
Signaling my location
Above ground Terra Firma
Not underwater in depths that
cannot support life
R.'s been dead now almost twenty years
By his own hand.

Tomorrow I will try again
I hinted to myself
barely believing
I still have my lighter and what cigarettes are left in the pack.
I Disappear in the crowd of dancing people
The music is loud while I walk through the corridor
I am outside now, the first breath of fresh air for hours
My legs are hurt and my head are dancing with stars
I walk without saying goodbye, I just walk
I stand so sleepy watching the turn of the street lights
The sunrise in the horizon and I'm waking
My body has recovered but my head still hurts
but it's different from last night, cuz today
My phone rang and I got social hangovers
Sometimes you just know you are doomed, but you don't necessarily know why

— The End —