rafters lit with strobe lights,
smoke lines,
broken paneled reflections of
thirty years of bottled insights,
throttled insides.
the air is laced with metallic smiles,
a camaraderie that’s degenerating
and sporadic flickers
of someone else’s lighter.
I rock in the center absentmindedly.
I have no business stopping by.

you watch me with
staggered silence and
constantly,
smile wide and big and
sudden.
I’m impacted           in seconds,
sides of me are split,
flowing, but I stand
idly.
your laugh some
blunted rifle.

you watch me mask my panic
with ten plus years of
a bawling inner child,
unmanageable reflexes
that end in stifled violence,
milky looks and a muted
predatory hunger.
I am wearing
my best calf impression:

slow,
doe-eyed and anxious.
blue tights, black heeled boots that
scuff the floor as I
wander     as I daydream in public;
rub a soft elbow,
sip a virgin seltzer tonic with
cherries and some other
light garnish.
                stay as close to God as possible
watch you with marrow armor and
calculated patience.
i’m a blue-black swirl of approachable
sainthood.
twirl somewhere nearby and deign to give you
open eyes for at least
twenty seconds at a time.

you crack a joke and
my laugh is deep,
loud,
brays right through you
like a swaying knife.

“first night”

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