reservation for two
Bright white light fills in through the window of the darkened, damp room. The lightbulbs buzz hopefully from their fixtures, flickering on and off until finally dimming out. They're lucky; they always have been. Sheltered within their glass home, and furthermore by the plastic that dangles precariously from the cracked, peeling ceiling. The room doesn't even smell dry; there's an overwhelming stench of waterlogged wood floors from who knows how long ago. The occasional mosquito buzzes in the swampy second floor lagoons that somehow only barely drip through into the first-floor lobby. But the lobby has never been for visitors. Only residents. Visitors, of course, are welcome, but they will not be leaving. At least, not for a while. They always return.
Past the grand staircase, there is a room. In the prime of its days, it was a janitorial closet. The maids would gossip and secretly smoke their cigarettes on their lunch breaks, filling the air with the sweet smell of marlboro. It still smells like them; roses and lung decay. Beyond there lies the bar. Many a man came and drank here, came and cared for another woman while his spouse was at home with the children. Many a man laid with another man in this place, secretly, of course. Though, it is also worth mentioning, these walls only serve to hold secrets.
The stench of old whiskey and sweat serves as such a reminiscent feature of the grand ballroom. Onlookers would say it is the murals on the ceilings, or perhaps the age-broken chandeliers and candelabras that sleep on the floor. They are wrong; for those are just the physical. Those are just the curb appeal. If you are looking for beauty, come to the ballroom. Every night there is an opportunity to dance, regardless of age or quality of life. And every night, the chandelier swings at exactly nineteen minutes and twenty seconds past nine o’clock, casting silhouettes on the walls. Can you hear it? The band always has plays the most beautiful pieces. Smell it-the shrimp cocktails and tonic stained breaths that whisper the most vulgar to the most beautiful.
It is beautiful, don’t you think? Can you hear the click-clack of the heels too? The broken cries are a bit deafening but do try and move past them. Perhaps we should get you a drink, you are looking ever so lowly tonight. Are you feeling okay? Did the dancing make you sick again? It’s alright, just come with me to the bar and we’ll have you up and running all right again. Well. You know what I meant. How about more stories? Will that help?
The fourth floor has always been one of trouble. All the maid’s quarters were there, and you know how they got after a new group came in. Of course, there were good maids; those who kept to themselves, kept their mouths shut, and…oh, who are we kidding. That’s about all they kept shut, ha-ha. Oh, but the bad maids…what a fun bunch! Sneaking into the bar, knowing fully well that it was men’s only past eleven at night. They were sly, though; taking off their rouge and lip stain, tying their locks into a bun and hiding it under a man’s hat. It was always interesting to see which men caught on to their game and which believed it wholly, yet still pursued them. Don’t you miss it? All of the hiding brought so much fun, did it not? Well, I suppose.
The most intriguing, though, is that no one ever left. Everyone who wanted to always came back in one way or another. Then again, who wouldn’t? We have everything; music, alcohol, secrets. These walls have so much hiding within them, so many stories and affairs, whispered words and broken promises. But you, oh you…you’d never break a promise, would you? Because you’re a good one…you’ve got whatever that French phrase is. You’ve got it all, darlin’. You always have, though, haven’t you? Such a pretty face on a pretty body, pretty mind that never speaks too much. Ain’t that right? Oh, don’t leave just yet. We’ve still gotta dance, ’member? I think that’s enough, come on. Dance with me.
Listen to those saxophones. Aren’t they something? All those beautiful notes so low and-oh, listen to all that reverberation. You wanna twirl yet? Alright. Just let me know. It sure means a lot to see you again; I was worried I never would. I know that’s silly, you always come back. Everyone always does. I just think it’s awful funny how I always find you. Wanna come back to my suite? It’s up on the fourth floor, remember? Come on, sweetie. Promise I’ll treat you right.
Look at all those beautiful stairs. I’ve always loved ’em, haven’t you? All the pretty gold lining the steps…positively gorgeous. Oh, don’t be shy! It’s just my room, silly! You’ve been here before! It’s alright, I don’t expect you to remember anyways, they never do. Anyways, just give me one moment and I’ll be right with you! You know where to go! Just there, on that green sofa.
The room is bright; yellowed bulbs shine in the broken fixtures. There’s a buzz, but it isn’t important. There’s also a spot on the carpet that seems…familiar. It seems as though it is a part of you, a part of your being. It’s probably nothing.
What a strange night…you never do this, especially with the family at home. You’re away on business. You don’t even drink…why did you drink? Why are you here? Who is she?
I’m back! That wasn’t too bad, now was it? Naw…can I make it up to you? I can be real good…sit nice and pretty on your lap, that okay? I know you’ve got your honey at home, and those awfully cute babies but…what’s a gal like me to do? Locked up in these walls all day long…well. There’s a good one. See? I ain’t doing anything disastrous. Just a wee bit of cuddling, it isn’t illegal or nothin’!
It’s strange…why are you letting this happen? Never, ever, would you consider this. Who is she? Why is she acting like this? Is she going to hurt you?
Naw, course not silly! I’d never! You’re too sweet for any of that. Oh, dear, seems like I’ve given myself a hang nail! Hand me my clippers?
How do you know where they are? Why are you giving them to her?
Thanks, sweetie. Now, you know, this hurts me an awful lot. You ever had one before? It stings, don’t it? These here are a new type’a clippers…mhmm… they have a file attached! Ain’t that handy! Yeah, alright. Think I’m all done.
Why is she kissing your cheek?
Now, you know why I’m like this, don’t you? I’m not usually like this, I promise! I never take random strangers up to my room but…there’s somethin’ about you. I’ve known it forever, but I guess you just don’t see it, else you wouldn’t still be here. Why can’t you learn it, darlin’? Can’t you see it? Can’t you see that you can get outta here?
What is she talking about?
Course. I shoulda known. Well. I just want you to know…the reason I brought you up here, and I always have…well. It’s awful strange for a girl like me to be doing so much talking, ain’t it? Well. You know you’ve always been my favorite, right?
And, just like that, a searing, curdling pain in your chest, in your neck, erupts. Violent spasms and constrictions overcome your body, and you cry for help, but she does nothing. It feels like you’re bleeding but you’re not, where did your body go? Is it getting brighter in here? Where did she go? Where is your body, why does it smell like whiskey and formaldehyde? Your mouth is full of…dirt? You’re screaming but no sound is coming out, you see your spouse and children crying, why? Where are you? It’s dark again, it’s so dark, it’s…a room. There’s a light fixture buzzing above you, grasping on to whatever life is left before it dims completely.
somehow, you managed to take my breath and give it all back.
my lungs ache with the memory of you,
my soul yearns for the air that you gave me,
just as much as the air you took.
i breathe you in, you breathe me out,
and our breaths lace together in the atmosphere,
like our hands across your console.
i breathe me out,
filling my lungs with you.
they ache when you're gone
like a plant shrivels away without the sun.
it is though you are producing everything i need,
and i thrive best in your company.
my breath is yours as my love is at the core
of everything i do for us,
the pinks of my life,
so happy, so young.
the carelessness of a time before
the plague of growing up,
growing out of people,
the sadness, the guilt and despair
that wreaks havoc in the bones
of this body.
the body that once was pink,
now a melancholy blue.
the combination creating a plethora of purple,
a desire not even grasped by myself yet.
to be pink is to be blue,
because without an understanding of a pink,
you would not know what a blue was.
we went to see a screening of a mutual favorite show at the movies in september. we were both away for college, two different ones, but we met up during a break. i've loved you for so long i almost can't remember what it was like before i did. we were sitting in my car at a red light, music from my phone playing through the aux cord. it was around midnight.
it was prom. you were my date, but not really, because we weren't dating. we slow danced. you kissed my hand. and let me rest on your lap. you drove me home. we got stuck in traffic in town, on the bridge over the river, and i had a perfect view of the city to my right and you to my left. a song was playing and i can't listen to it now because it brings me back then, when i wish i had leaned over your console and placed the smallest kiss on your cheek.
it was christmas last year. we met up on our breaks and got dinner. and hung out in your car in my driveway for an hour in a half just talking. my parents left and came home before i got out. i almost cried, and that's a lot coming from me. i felt so safe with you. i feel so safe with you. but i should've kissed you.
i should've leaned over the console. or led you into a secluded area where no one could see us. or leaned over my console at the light. or during prom as we slow danced. i should've kissed you in 5 months when we road trip for a concert and spend the night in a hotel together. i should've kissed you in 10 years when we're laughing about right now, i should've kissed you on senior skip day at the lake, or after we dropped of that friend after the movie on senior field day, or when you drove me home from auditioning for a choir. i should've kissed you the second i realized you're the love of my fucking life,
but i didn't.
and i won't.
nothing means more to me in this world than you, and i have infinite regrets about a lot of things, but not one of them is in relation to you. yes, i should've kissed you. but i can't, because if you don't want it, then i don't either. and you don't.
so i don't.
but i should've kissed you.
one, two, three night stand
its not like its goodbye..
unless it is.
will i wake up tomorrow
alone in this bed?
will i go home today,
never hear from you again?
will i get the call in a week's time,
sorrowful words speaking "i'm sorry,
it's not like it's goodbye
until it all goes to hell.
one moment we're fine,
next time i see a clock it's been two years.
or ten, if you're lucky.
it's not like it's goodbye,
i repeat the words you said.
it's not like it's goodbye,
as i finish off another red.
it's not like it's goodbye,
tear stained pillows, colors bled.
it's not like it's goodbye,
through the speaker of a phone.
it's not like it's goodbye,
but i'm still waking up alone.
all at once, just like that, the world became habitable once again. no longer were there latex gloved hands reaching for our throats, or mask covered kisses during the endless indoor recess. the smell of lemon lysol no longer brings childhood memories, but sends us into an anxiety induced frenzy. is there enough toilet paper? what about food? will we be okay to go to the atm without gloves? can i shake hands with my priest again or am i going to die? from one day to the next, the world was turned on her head and slam dunked into reality. thousands lost. millions lost. this was not a game of two. this was not a game, yet everyone thought it was until we were the losing team. we always have been that way. we're humans, we can survive and conquer-can we? how can we expect for our life to be handed to us on a platter when we can't hand the platter of rations to our children, but we can restock on bounty paper towels, charmin toilet paper; why not dove soap? why not generic soap? why did we have to destroy our planet in our time of need? why don't we learn? the virus may be gone but the trees are too; nothing stands as beautiful as the nuclear plant down the highway. no sound is as beautiful as the exhaust pipe of a car with no muffler. so is the virus truly gone? perhaps it was not a virus at all but a security breech; a purposeful malfunction in the hardwiring of this computer of a planet. it attacked the virus like any reasonable software would-elimination was always the hoped result. this is not coincidence. though it is also not our fault. isolation only leads to one thing-rebuilding. this is a wake up call. don't hit snooze.
hazel eyes sparked a wildfire surprise deep within my soul.
i longed for you, i long for you;
nothing in this world compares to moments spent together.
shorter now, though still ever-present,
the fire burns on;
i burn from the inside out when you smile,
your braces-fixed teeth shine pleasantly like the sun through cream curtains.
your voice like honey in the bitterest of tea,
your hands on my skin burns like a good cup of coffee and leaves the same residue;
when your skin brushes mine, it warms and lingers all day.
your words are like coming home after a long day,
settling in with a glass of red and a book;
inebriating in the warmest way, most comforting way.
when i am with you, the fastest moments linger.
when i am with you, the world begins to turn again,
the sun begins to shine,
nothing seems impossible.
you take the worst of me and make it better,
the best of me and make it perfect,
your heart beats goodness into your veins
for distribution on the world;
all you touch begins its life anew,
like daffodils in the springtime after a cold and dreary winter.
love does not begin to say the things i feel for you,
but she can try, and i can try, to give my soul to you.
we never cried around each other,
but that night,
we cried ourselves a hurricane.
we were in your bedroom,
but the wind from your ceiling fan swirled rapid above us,
blowing posters and papers around.
hiding under blankets only does so much.
you can't hide from heartbreak under a blanket you shared,
or hide from the fact that life wasn't fair
to either of us.
the rain on your window tap
taps it's way in,
drenching us both with our immortal sin.
we shouldn't have loved, and yet we did,
the only option for me is to fall off your grid.
so you smoked.
and i was fine. i lied.
perhaps a piece of us died
in that hurricane of ours,
in the bed that we shared,
in the house that was never supposed
to be built there.
we were two added ghosts
to the walls that shared twenty;
twenty past midnight and i'm missing your call,
asking what's up to the voice in my halls.
s is for shame, but translated
Shame kicks me
And bad people.
He caught me when he called me
He did not see me
more than this
I am his boat
My enemy is in my hands.
I am not a good boy
I am not a good brother
I am not a good person
I am not a good boy
Don’t get angry with discipline.
Humiliation, sin, shame
I took my sins from heaven
Heart manifestations and heart pain
My sorrow is sorrow, I am guilty.
good die young
it hits like a cold,
until that cold consumes you,
leaves you bed-ridden for some days.
except, this is no cold.
it began statewide,
the diseased glow red,
such a wide outbreak leaves the healthy shivering blue;
ever so lonely under dark maroon skies,
knowing right from wrong, yet they are scrutinized.
the leaders all cower in fear
of the grand supreme.
his power unpresidented,
his voice like nails,
yet people adore him,
find solice and truth,
call him the second coming,
but what about the youth
growing up in his reign, seeing all that he shows,
its okay to kill mommy so the baby can grow.
love may be love, but if love's what he gets,
the love that we know,
that's blown all to shit.
the diseased stay alive while the healthy grow weak,
its quite a pandemic-
it has no defeat.