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I’m smoking a cigarette with the warm-hearted bus boy.

He’s got a Cali-surfer mixed with Greased Lightnin’ vibe

Without the 1970s pep rally pep nor the beach bum laziness…

We’re working in Union Square, 12 hour shifts shuffling between tables

Of oblivious rich New Yorkers and duped tourists drinking

$18 watered-down martinis eating $12 re-heated microwave-crostinis

We smell like the dumpsters on the other side of the playground fence

Where there are children chasing each other lost in their innocence

While the sweat steadily dripping down our aching backs that’re torn from carrying

Bins/trays and he generously passes me the lucky strike pack for another

And we joke about something I can’t remember

My memory’s no good about this depressing blur of time-my-in-life-but-I do

Remember feeling quietly lucky that I was moving steadily, all-bite slowly, towards

Great literature the world had never seen and that him and I were already

Far from these menial jobs, petty bosses, little restaurant conniving dramas

Where many sad souls reconcile themselves to mundane lifetimes and dark mantras

And late-night subway rides on the G with no relief and no sleep

But later, after closing

Surf-Lightnin’ invited me

To Central Park with a Thespian Texan who conveniently had a guitar

And we drank cheap beer from brown paper bags

And shared our own emo chord progressions

Like the silly heartbroken boys we (are) used to be + had ambitious conversations

Cause Cali was going back to Cali soon to be/become a great actor

His fire and certainty were contagious

These small flickering moments for me were bright and kept my

Head tilted towards the expanse of a starless sky

And nothing would stop us we knew we were right

And now I see he’s starring in a Netflix special with Sabrina and witches

While I see over her shoulder a busboy fixing a torn napkin on a table

Sweating by the Seine while I’m being handed a cigarette from a sultry Parisian

Still a long way to go, but Cali and I knew and still know

We wouldn’t stop back then

Remember when

 


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