oh beautiful sky with your stars
the stars you don’t see anymore because of the dim radio lights on your dashboard
and the many millions more dashboards as you drive intoxicated (barely) home from fiesta cantina
those stars you now see because you’re flying way above those lights
and you forgot what they were like or that all a star wishes to do is
and to make you wonder like you did that one summer at camp when your counselor told you that sometimes when someone dies their soul goes into a star and it shines brighter for you
and only you.
you look up and see the stars
and look down and see the city’s rendition of stars
except they’re yellow and red and more like a spectrum of dirty colors
because from up here that’s all it looks like.
up here it makes you think of down there because of claustrophobia
and an older woman sleeping next to you and you are too self conscious to wake her up because you have to piss.
so you hold and your stomach bubbles but not because of that but because you’re thinking about stars
and the down below where you’re going to be in an hour.
the time spent thinking of your arms and bodies locked together,
biting each other playfully because that’s what you do
and the softness of her back against your index finger at exactly 11 o clock
and now the stuffiness of this plane and the confinement of not being naked in a bed next to you
watching movies and talking about being naked and boobs and butts or your third nipple.
then your thoughts go back up to stars and it makes you think about how you can’t see them normally
and you wonder what it’s like to live in a place where you can.
those places probably exist probably but where.
where and in what town and what are the bars like there
and do they know how to make an AMF or is that just an LA thing
those towns must be a lot of fun but a more familiar kind of fun like your best friend who tells you all his secrets kind of fun
like how he didn’t have sex because the mattress wasn’t comfortable
and all you could think about while he told that story is the three stars
to your left and how one of them shines more brightly.
your mind wanders to those thoughts sparked by that star
and you haven’t thought about them in awhile even though memorial day was his anniversary
and its been 13 years since you last saw him and that must be him up in that star.
or not or its just the atmosphere playing tricks because that’s what it does sometimes
like when the sky turns orange and red and some hipster painter somewhere is happy and starts to paint it blue because that’s his impression of orange.
that sky sits comfortably over a beach with an ocean.
whose waves glow neon and you thought it was the atmosphere
but turned out to be just a bacterial reaction that happens once everyso often
and you wonder if you’ll see that again or a star in LA or what will come first
and there’s a certain music that plays at night when you go to the beach
and all you hear is the sound of waves crashing on the shore
and they each sound different some sad and some more animated because the moon is an inconsistent conductor.
not related to the stars you now see slowly fade in the distance because
you’re getting close to home.
the spotted clumps of light give way to a sea of yellow and you know the pilot will tell the stewardess to prepare for landing any minute
and the woman next to you will wake up and ask you if we’re almost there and if she was snoring to which you smile politely and say, “no.”
You’re almost there and you know because you can’t sleep on planes
and you can’t because the stars take your mind to too many different
for half my life there were four of us and for the second half there were none of us
and i rarely thought about it because when you’re 8 yrs old every day is awesome and you can’t think past the sleepover on Saturday night where you’d build a fort out of the red leather couch at Michael’s house
and Cody brought the Star Wars action figures and Dylan brought the candy and you all stayed up late idolizing the slightly faded yellow pool table in the living room that we were forbidden to touch
and we did anyways & sometimes Michael’s dad would yell at us and chase us down the street and we ran and then laughed when we rounded the corner of Inglewood and walked down to the 7-11 to get candy
on Cody’s 13th birthday Michael and Dylan both had pipes and I knew all about it and we talked about the same things and South Park was just getting popular and our hair was spiked and Cody had gotten rid of his mullet and after that day we didn’t see each other again and you just don’t think about it until one day you get a text from Cody saying Michael died and his funeral is on Friday and you should come
and then you realize that there’s no more Rat Pack
you look at yourself in the mirror after a shower and get dressed and want to make sure you look the way everyone will remember you and you show up not knowing what to expect until you see Cody and Dylan and they look the same but older and we embrace and in that room next to an ornately carved oaken box the Rat Pack is together again if only for a few hours
we’ve traveled tens of thousands of miles and Cody lived in Thailand and Dylan went to Greece and I went to Korea and we were all so close actually I could have walked to Connie and Ted’s & seen Michael in the kitchen and said hey it’s been awhile and we could have gotten a drink at the bar on his break and talked about cooking and he could have told me about culinary school and we could have gone to the park on San Vicente one day before work and played basketball because that’s what we always did when we were young and now I can’t do that anymore
& and all I can think about is life’s a trip sometimes
My mind looks for words and it can’t find them
This night passes and
There’s nothing there for tomorrow and now
I lie looking up restless
A plane flies overhead but it could be a star falling
There, out there so far from me
I hear life sometimes and it sounds like people
And in here it’s just me and my couch
Camus said you could get used to anything and he’s right
This life is my damp log and I look up and
All I see is a blurry night with no stars
They’ve all fallen or they’re all planes that are wherever
Filled with people who looked down
Out at the horizon and maybe some of them saw a sunrise
From 20,000 feet above the clouds
And they were the first welcomed to a new day
Greeted & childlike their experience was unique
And I’m still here and I can’t find the words I need
And I can’t sleep so I listen for the plane, for the star falling
To tell me I’m alive
here people dance in the street
some naked, or almost
and everyone is some degree of happy
and you can’t not hear it
like you can’t not have a mother
everyone has some degree of one
all our paths led us here
and we all know the lyrics to ‘born this way’
we’re all on 18th street in the mission
there’s skin against me and I’m shielded
from the cold outside
I’ll capture this moment on instagram and people will like it
and I’ll remember dancing with strangers
being accepted by strangers
**This poem was published in the Lighthouse Literary journal. You can buy it HERE**
when even the sky feels different meaning the clouds here are from a different air or rather the difference in everything is told by looking up
white barges move leisurely as they’ve done a thousand times with red-topped houses mish-mashed on a once grassy hill resembling legos
the city wakes up to a crescent moon still visible against the dawn and you wonder about things like how people drive here or whether the men selling simit on street corners have the same supplier
and strangely everyone speaks english except the old cab drivers who complain about tourists and arabs and I think to myself that I’m lucky I blend in everyone here knows their history and where the monuments are
and where I live there are no monuments and young kids here have Ataturk’s signature tattooed on their arms and chests and speak passionately because they understand the situation
not like here
I remember the trip from the airport passing through a barren hillside that somehow carried itself proudly and seeing a flag in the distance and nothing else but a hill and flag and thinking it defined this place perfectly
“I guess you can just take me home now” I’ll go back to the traffic and ignorance and bad food and know that despite all that my life is good
and I’ll sometimes hear the morning prayer in my head and think about the summer here