Ode to the Ten Eleven

Courtesy: Ventura SATX

by Abby Mangel

 

“Am I not who you thought I would be?”

A severe case of monophobia
led me to a violet shift of a punk establishment
that sat precariously on the river.
It was a sacral landmark,
a busy locale known to be as self-destructive
as the urban shadows packed inside of it.
Timidly,
the foundation of the building rocked
like it was ready to collapse into the watery sludge below.

As I cradled a sticky can of piss beer inside at the bar,
the venue itself seemed aware of the fact
that we all hurt ourselves in different ways.

I held my Lonestar
like a cosmic flotation device
if the creaky, old deck
ever splintered and splashed
into the black river below.

A rude bitch
named midnight
was teasing the huddled masses,
flinching baseball caps and hiking up skirts,
casually.

For a jarring three seconds
you tampered with a stubborn speaker
before a disembodied voice from behind the bar
summoned you
elsewhere.

You were dressed
in a denim button-down
that had seen better days.
It was a balmy night in December,
and you had rolled back
the long sleeves of your shirt.
Its marred fabric
was stained by what looked
like soft spray of liquid bleach bullets.
I pictured you washing dishes recklessly at some point,
and considered
like a logician,
calculated and measured,
the contrasting colors
of your dark indigo shirt
discarded onto
the rosy panels of my bedroom floor.

But,
we together
aren’t immune to that viral aphorism
that nothing lasts forever:
I had already shelved my desire for you
like a cigarette
that had fallen into a puddle,
wet and wilted garbage.

“Is this not what you thought I would say?”

Abby Mangel is the Graduate Assistant of the English Language and Literature Program at St. Mary’s University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English and philosophy from Trinity University. She is a rock n’ roll journalist, and she is writing a Master’s Thesis on Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize in Literature. 

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