Day Nine: ‘Less Like Interpol (Sestina)’

April 9, 2017

At her Goodbye Brooklyn party, the bar
plumped itself full with rat-club music
and young folks yelling sex queries to friends.
Rose, the pre-departed, peered through neon
beer signs, black jackets, and wet kisses,
and, knowing she’d not return, wept into her drink.

She hid it well: each sob, she gulped a drink.
The speakers masked the sounds. Next to the bar
and later outside the bathroom, kisses:
the beautiful coifed boy who liked house music.
Still, the hanging ache of New York neon
thickened in her stomach. “Farewell, friends.”

Twenty-seven now, time for new friends.
The state-college crowd and its baggage (drinks,
memories, etc.) that followed neon
to the city with her remain at those bars
’til four. She’d rather chase music
in L.A. basements, have a dozen real kisses.

Her boss, the bearded guy who blew her kisses,
strongly encouraged the move, like he did with friends
who’d long dreamed of beach-dipped offices and music
less like Interpol. Over a drink,
he’d made the Angel City case. Her bar
was high. He cleared it. She lit up neon.

A dozen weeks later, alone with “Neon,”
the John Mayer tune, and yet no such kisses,
Rose sits on her Crate & Barrel bar-
stool in a beach kitchen, far from friends.
She cries again, this time no cover from a drink,
not even via guitar scrapes in the music.

But why? Why the tears now amid this music?
She doesn’t miss the noise or the neon
or Bumble boys she never met for drinks.
She loves the beach now, always did. No kisses,
sure, but in a week, three new friends
who show her the coziest wine bar.

All gone, the cosmopolitan drinks and kisses;
but now, the neon sand takes her as a friend,
and angels pluck harp music at the bar.

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