The City at Night

The City at night smells like memory & life to her.

Only in the right places, of course.

It smells like youth,
like fantasies of endless abandon.

Especially when it’s just rained.

She doesn’t know the names
of the chemicals & materials
that constitute this smell.

She knows only why she finds
so much delight
in such a slight thing:

Once, a long time ago, she would roam
the luminescent concrete pathways
of the City & she was free.

Liberated from the wrong kind of eyes & noise,
she found a place where
the rules were different,
where she had just enough money,
& just enough friends,
to create a sense of excitement…

Now she is older, & everything is different.

Somehow all those nights came to an end
& she is left with nothing
but soft-edged memories.

All the minor details,
once so sharp & bright
she held them tight & protected them
like diamonds,

have faded
& the beginning has become
only the fragment of a dream.

Freedom has changed:

Obligation replaced attachment
& left her with only
a feeling of distance;

the strange sensation
that she is not what she once was,
that she is lost & always was.

Reason has fallen.

Yet stubbornly
she still clings to something
she cannot explain…

Something I cannot explain, except to say:

“We all have dead & dying hopes & beliefs scattered about our feet…
but I refuse to believe that we cannot find the strength to bury them;
that one day we will find the strength to begin again.

Fuck you if you don’t believe,

    just watch me.”

Acceptance as Defiance

Thought & image blend with emotion,
creating a weird creature
of our own creation,
& then
we attempt to control this creature
with language, but the wild horses
of desire,
of impulse & sensation,
cannot be tamed by satiation
or speech.

We must accept the existence
of an empty space,
the place
where we exist;
the solitude
that will always be with us,
& that can not be filled
by consumption;
by that
which consoles & poisons
in equal measure.

Nothing can save us
unless we shred instinct
& learn to forgive,
& to accept,
that sometimes we are scared
& sometimes lonely;
sometimes hurt &
sometimes just horny;

that sometimes
we are nothing more
than another animal,
born of a capricious mother
& a vast,
indifferent father,

& that all we really seek
is comfort
& some answers
to our never-ending questions,
& that these motivations
are in conflict with each other.

But acceptance is not giving up:
acceptance is defiance.