“A Girl Walks into a Neon Bar”

AnneMarie Sabatini


It’s dreaming. What is the dreaming? It’s the hazy neon of

 the live music night bar and the alleyway behind it.

 I wish I could have it—not the bar, no, the alleyway;

the quiet so close to the loud. The life. 

Shadows curl themselves around the light, like a

 good lover. I leave them alone, but where do

  I wander if not in the shadows? If not

   even in the light? I hold this dilemma

close to my chest, wandering in between

everything good. Weaving myself like

 space, touching like love and avoiding like

 love as well. The sky unleaves itself, comes back

  to me in long shuddering gasps of daylight. 

 Imagine the sun fracturing. The light splintering.

When Dawn leaves Tithonus lying in her bed alone,

 this is what she does: she fractures. 

  She splinters. She becomes a new 

   day. I haven’t yet learned how to unwound 

  a body like that, to carry the light 

 somewhere else, so I spend my nights

  searching for the light’s end, but it is riverine:

 the desire. Sinuous. Slips from my fingers

  before I can give it back to Tithonus, so he

   forgets of love, and so he leaves. We lose the day in

  grieving. I scrabble to pick up everything lost but

 what exactly is that? I carry on walking in between

the light and her lover. I am hungry. Hungry. This

Is Vita writing to Virginia, Simone sending letters of love

to Sartre, Miller never mincing his words for Nin.

 Desire is always ripping me from the inside out. This is my grief.

  I have no Vita, no Simone, no Anäis, so I walk side by side between

   the light and her lover—this small intimacy I hold quiet between my

   fingers. Gently I give even this back; after all this talking about things

  I mean differently than I say, I walk back home alone. I wished for this miracle.

 This rain is a miracle. This love is a rain; I feel it like mist. You take

a knife to the ribs to pull out your bloody heart, a sacrifice you’ve already

 made on another altar of love, and the rain continues. We already know this, but

  this time we should write it in blood: love is selfish. Even the sacrifice is selfish.

  Even the blood spilt is blood desiring to be outside of the body

 anyway, so why not let it out?

I swear, the poem will eventually get old, and then who will I turn to?

I walk back to the hazy neon live music bar and they won’t let me in.

Something about I don’t belong there, even after all this

  time. So I slink back to the alleyway, weave myself through

   all the non-light love I told myself was too heavy to keep

  carrying around. Here, in the alleyway, I am close enough to

 the loudness of life to believe in it again. I wait for the light

  to end.

Poetry arrangement by AnneMarie Sabatini