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so. what, instead?

what could you read?
or put on?
or take off?

it’s cold. you’re not
hungry. your friends
are asleep.

the face you’d been
making expired
with them.

and now, just you.
no clauses, no cause,
no infinite riddles

to busy your hands.
no five-fingered bosses
with footnote demands.

some nights give us
nothing, ask
nothing, wait there

with a mirthless
expression, like the foot
of a bed

you don’t want
to get into.
so. what, instead?

the bars pour out
people. not
people you know.

in doubles and triples
no one knows
your name.

and the same
old encounters,
and the same paltry

games seem always
in fashion. and,
for a while,

you found them
endearing. the
slot machine smiles,

the hologram hookups
and puke lacquered
tiles. no longer

for you. or
the people
you knew.

so. what, instead?
you’ve made
livings on livings,

played roles
and role-played
with the women

who stayed,
who were never
your first choice,

who settled,
like you, for
the caveat days

when affairs would
be tolerated.
they never came.

so. what, instead?
the hollowed world views
mean nothing,

help no one.
great systems, with
no one to think them,

prolapse. and your mind,
an exhausted
empire, collapsed

with the rest
of the fugitive future
and past.

you look out
your window.
the streetlights exist.

Jordan Potter is a writer and actor from Huntington Beach. He operates the poetry film studio, Blank Verse Films, with his partner, Mike Gioia.

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