Poem: “Last Night”

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Room with one heck of a view.

As a prequel of sorts to yesterday’s post, “First, World,” here’s a poem I put together the evening before the first day of my first “real job” at the end of August. I purposely didn’t post it back then because… well, I just didn’t want to sound like a total pessimist. I figured I’d keep that bittersweet moment’s frustrations to myself, head into the office the next morning with an open mind, and then return to the words with fresh eyes after some time.

And now here we are, in October! Following a review and some light linguistic/structural tweaks, I was pleased to confirm to myself that this piece was still potent as a reflection–that crystallization of thoughts and feelings in a specific time and space, for which I so treasure poetry’s power. It may not be any cheerier than my last upload, but nights inside before big life moments tend to skew nerve-wracking.

How’s work? Well, definitely demanding–and only set to get more so–but I’m pleased to report it’s not yet as dreadful as it felt…

 

Last Night

This is my last night.

Convalescent in comfort:

Ice cream, action scenes, and domino rows of daydreams.

I stand before the mirror on mental razor’s edge,

precipice between pissing around and

the 9-to-5am.

Anything is subsistence living if your standards are high

and your hopes humble.

 

Dinner sits half-dismissed by a tallboy, equally chilled.

This is the free man’s last meal

before prison, isn’t it?

The couch a coffin, the TV’s digital dim a cell door’s welcoming creak.

On the glass tabletop, I envision a prism of discontent:

to family, fractured; to friends, indifferent.

To the ladies, the lawyers? A-okay.

Take it day by day, I say

to myself.

Let no one know how many hours I bought,

least of all me.

 

Because concentration disintegrated seasons ago.

Now, it’s a task to even finish a thriller without

tapping a foot, typing a tweet, rethinking my five-year plan.

That can’t bode well for Day One on the job.

 

So, for now, let me bask in it:

the angular eggshell glow of a lone wall-lamp,

the muffled rumble of rusty Sunday traffic through thick headphones,

the blue hue of my modem, glowering in the media center’s corner

like a punished pupil.

 

If I didn’t listen before it was too late, at least I only missed my own advice.

So little time, so much to waste,

and every second must be accounted for:

what I did, or why I didn’t.

How much longer can I pretend to enjoy my colleagues’ company?

So far, so good, I once smirked,

but likeless Facebook posts speak louder than words.

 

It doesn’t matter now.

That’s how I’ll play the first morning.

Present. Able. Presentable.

Ready and dead, by necessity.

Isn’t that what independence is all about?

Always down,

but never out.

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Poem of the Week: “Home Less”

I went back home to Washington State for Spring Break, and… it didn’t feel like it used to. I’m still not sure if that’s a good or bad thing, but I thought I should “write it out.”

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Home Less

People speak of haunted houses,

but never the reverse.

 

We mistake it at first, home,

for the cabinets, countertops, and plastic toys.

That’s, after all, as far as our goals go,

as far as nimble legs can carry us:

to the playground,

TV room,

town bar.

Postcards, plaques, and photographs

hold fast the roof we sleep beneath—

hoarded mortar to the bricks.

All the world’s a game, and

you must be this tall to exit.

 

But over years,

under fees, degrees, double-digit birthday cakes,

expectations asphyxiate—comparisons oppress.

The mind moves but loops, running

not a marathon but a track:

Even if you notice a new patch of grass,

it’s still a circle.

 

And one day, returning turns nothing at all.

Through the front door,

and the past piles on, quarterback-like:

Memories of memories, of thoughtless acts

and thoughts never acted on.

The gravel avenue, the green, greener grass

remain unchanged,

yet the mailbox peels, the Jeep rusts,

and the dusty halls shine quieter.

Mirthful or mournful,

you can’t go back.

 

Every room is an interrogation room,

wrecked by recollections, recursion of diversions.

The bed’s a confessional,

coaxing midnight doubts and dreams

from uncanny comfort.

Bookshelves elevate what once mattered:

Piggy banks, cracked glasses, collector’s editions uncashed.

Half-sketches, bookmarks bisecting paperbacks,

beg questions:

When does a to-do become a once-was?

When does an ambition become an anecdote?

Branch out enough, and the limb will snap

at the base.

 

So it scares me, like a trust fall in transit,

that with so much behind, I don’t know where I’m headed.

Not depressed but compressed, lifted up

and weighed down at once

by the prospect of prospects.

 

Sure, stability is a privilege,

with a cap on laments.

Still, it’s unrelenting, this discontent

when the contents of my mind

mirror the zip code of my former universe.

A false sense of insecurity must come from somewhere.

 

 

When the beginning of your world starts feeling like its end,

the lucid dream becomes sleep paralysis—

a vacation becomes tourism through history.

There’s no cure for maturity,

but there is a placebo.

Just know

 

home is not a place

but a space, a radius

orbiting wherever we go—

satellites of plans, passions, and aspirations.

Home is not a building

filled with odds and ends and quiet blind spots.

It is building:

A life, a wife, a gig, something big,

or at least bigger than you were

the day before.

 

And until I lay those bricks—

wrap those drafts, earn that office,

let a ring follow a call for once—

there’s no place to rest.

But I’m fine being home less.