January 14, 2018

things to lose

Saturday night I found myself alone
in a bar,
on the coldest night in Singapore,
just as the sun was setting
and shoppers zig-zagged
across the slick wet streets
from shop to shop
enamoured by their obsession to commerce,
as the street lights painted
the concrete with smears of electric paint,
and the giant screens showed dancing women
biting their pouty lips and well-washed hair,
defying a hashtag movement
through the invisible strings
of the seduction machine.

Men using sex to sell things to women
to make them want sex with men.

Everyone wanting to be cool
and loved and wanted
as we strode the street
like spawning salmon
caught in dead end eddies.

The darkness of the bar
was alluring and comfortable.

It has been years since I sat alone in a bar.

I remember North Beach after Veronica’s house-
Sunday morning after a night of disappearing oblivion,
we were like ink released into midnight puddles.

The next day hungover and alone.
Football was played on the TV without sound
as The Revered Horton Heat blared loudly.
Of course her boyfriend was behind the bar.
Tattooed with a goatee
glaring at me as I sipped my drink.
Twice my size he could have
broken all my bones,
I never understood why he didn’t.

I remember the East Village-
Tuesday afternoon after a walk down
the endless avanues from Ari’s place
on the Upper East Side-
alone with a jukebox and an afternoon to kill.

Saturday was different,
a Martini and a bowl of fries.
Slow slips, flicking through my phone
reading the news.
We all took picture of our drinks,
to stamp that we were there
that we are here.
That we’re alive and in need of attention.
Yearning to be noticed even in solitude.

Next to me a group of four young men,
drank as young men do, “What’s up man?”
The one with well groomed hair
and a tucked in pink buttoned up shirt asked.

“Not much,” I answered sipping my drink.
Not much at all.

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