Talking Stand-Up Comedy in Pittsburgh

It’s Kat’s birthday and the room laughs
at sad Neil Young songs opposite this
vibrant party. I meet Meeti who says
she has good jokes, bad presence.
She has grander aspirations. I tell her
I never planned to be in this city, either.
She needs a New York or LA. I came
from both & couldn’t hang. Birthday
spirit drifts in this room around us,
everyone having an amicable time.
We are, too, except we can only dream
of spotlights, butterflies, our names in
neon because we’d rather smoke quietly
in the dark corners of social gatherings

(originally published in The Big Windows Review, Summer 2021)

You Only Post on Instagram When in Other Countries

Swiss mountains, Chilean volcanoes, a beach in Vancouver–
currently, my hands grip a steering wheel. In the passenger

seat is a black bag. Inside, a paper bag. Inside, a salad, or
sandwich, or scone, or soup. The bread is probably hard

as stone. I scroll your travels from the safety of a stoplight.
I am far from the only wanderlust trapped in the confines

of a tipped job. I’d drive my Ford into the ocean. Sink into
the Atlantic and arrive somewhere you haven’t heard of.

 

(originally published in Lines + Stars, Spring 2019)