Monday, January 20

bored at the café on a slow monday night

It felt like somewhere else
for a moment,
glancing out the front door to see the
police sirens
reminded me of neon lights and advertisements
flashing across a
massive wall of billboards—

New York City was good to me:
with the attractive and superior students
on campus at Columbia…
with the hipsters in Brooklyn,
hustling along and
each other
             as if they were
across the window of a
   moving car…
as if none of these people were
in love with their own neighborhood
like I was.

And I was in love.

Even with the cool kids walking in front of me
puffing from their cigarettes
and blowing into my face,
coating my clothes and hair with
a layer of stink,
I was still in love.

            The next moment,
I turned the corner and was blinded by
Times Square.
My eyes already exhausted
and stinging
from the second-hand smoke,
it was too much for them to take in all the
the neon lights and advertisements
flashing across a
massive wall of billboards,
telling me what I need
and what I want.
And how could they know—?

            I recall all of this,
sitting outside the restaurant
on the curb,
the cold throbbing in my fingers
and my ears,
relieved to find that the
police sirens were fading away.

I guess the lights hurt my eyes.
But maybe Manhattan’s billboards
have a better idea of what I need
and what I want

than I do myself.


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