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)

Scenery

My roommate takes me
for a walk, or she takes the dog
for a walk. It doesn’t matter.
It’s the second night

we’ve walked each other,
or the dog walked us,
sore throat, brainy fog,
and this time can’t even find

the moon, obscured by houses.
We look anyway, together,
comparing bloom to doubt,
how one is sure, the other

grows, and leaves
crunch beneath as the dog
stops our walking
to pee, to leave another

thing behind. On Sunday
I watched the Niagara dump millions
of gallons into itself, mist rising
into something, nothing. The moon

loomed huge over the bridge
to America towing sunset’s lavender
bed but you can watch a thing die
before your eyes, or not at all–

the way, driving back from Canada
in heavy traffic, I tapped you
on the shoulder on the sky bridge
and said, look, here’s something,

one thing beautiful left, look,
and took the world’s last magnificent,
proffered blue and there, as a passenger,
you refused.

 

(originally published in The Knicknackery, 2018)