San Francisco, 1994

City lights reflecting in the club’s
oversized mirror keep my eyes
in a semi-permanent squint,
my judgment clouded, vision strained.

Someone passes me a menthol cigarette,
which I promptly gag on
then ask the sweaty, smiley guy next to me
if I can bum one of his unfiltered Camels.

My head spins from smoke and booze
and the sounds coming from the instruments
on stage—horns and bass and her voice,
that glorious honey voice tinged with sorrow,

dripping with everything that I love
and alternately hate about this city.
I finish my cigarette, crush it
with the heel of my Doc Marten

and stumble into the restroom to relieve myself
of a night’s worth of expensive tequila.
My own number mocks me from the stall wall,
an etched remnant of another night,

another life that couldn’t wait to be lead.
I shake it off and zip up, let her voice carry me
back into the dark interior and the lustful stares
of sweaty men with cigarettes and cash to burn.

 

Copyright © 2014 by Christopher Chaffin – All rights reserved

 

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About cjchaffin

Wordsmithing is my passion. I eat, sleep, and breathe words and phrases, only to regurgitate them and pray that they are better off than when I first ingested them.
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