some asshole kid keeps yelling out of his hotel room window while a bunch of his friends laugh in the background. their voices have the stepped-on-frog-sound of fresh puberty. i'm sitting outside, alone, in what they call a gazebo, inside this small white-painted wooden structure. one million years ago in high school we'd climb through the forest-like parts of prospect park to a gazebo just like this one. we'd bring kegs and throw parties there until the cops came up and chased us. we'd scatter and hide. i remember crouching behind trees and bushes holding my breath until their flashlights were far enough away, just tiny, tiny dots. it's almost as dark out here now as it was back then. 'STOP SMOKIN' THOSE FUCKIN' CIGARETTES!' the kids yelling, 'YOU'RE GONNA GET CANCER.' they sound really drunk and it really just makes me want a very strong fucking drink. yeah, a drink. yes. cancer. yes, that's the plan, kid. you think i wanna stick around forever? like this? forever thumbing through thesauruses? with my thoughts fighting love off until we're both bruised up and bleeding? with the aching tosses and turns in my pathetic excuse for sleep? some wedding party for a strictly spanish-speaking couple is moving loudly from the banquet hall to the bar. nothing here is poetic. poetic would not be caught dead at this party, or in this hotel. i know because i've looked. mostly i try and put it where its needed. i place it somewhere and then try to keep it still, like a squirmy toddler in time out. i don't have to be out here, kid, i don't. but smoking these cigarettes is just about the last reckless thing i'm privy to. my life has other ideas and they exclude all of mine. i'm gripping this last dirty habit like the phone your lover called to tell you that it's over. and yet still, everything moves. everythings moving. the kid spits out his window. i don't know where it lands. i don't say anything. what could i say? i am breathing slowly in through my nose and out through my mouth because that's how you breathe when your head and lungs can't remember how to. reminding them is a full time job, unpaid but full time. to curb the side effects, i do it. so as not to wake the monsters. for christs sake do not wake any monsters. doctors orders. the kid yelling out of the window has no idea. sure i could come up with some things to yell back that might teach him a lesson. something really clever. but i don't. i'd rather let life do it, in its unkind and unexpected ways. let life tell him. life can let him know it all. he's still got so much time not to know.
at 4:29 PM