It is later than late,
the simmered down darkness
of the jukebox hour.
The hour of drunkenness
The fools hour.
In my dreams,
I still smoke, cigarette after cigarette.
It's okay, I'm dreaming.
In dreams, smoking can't kill me.
It's warm outside.
I have every window open.
There's no such thing as danger,
only the dangerous face of beauty.
I am hanging at my window
like a houseplant.
I am smoking a cigarette.
I am having a drink.
The pale, blue moon is shining.
The savage stars appear.
Every fool that passes by
smiles up at me.
I drip ashes on them.
There is music playing from somewhere.
A thready, salt-sweet tune I don't know
any of the words to.
There's a gentle breeze making
hopscotch with my hair.
This is the wet blanket air of midnight.
This is the incremental hour.
This is the plastic placemat of time
between reality and make-believe.
This is tabletop dream time.
This is that faint stain on your mattress,
the one you'll discover come morning,
and wonder how.
This is the monumental moment.
The essential: look at me now.
This is the hour.
Isn't it lovely? Wake up the stars!
Isn't it fabulous? Kiss the moon!
Where is the clock? The one that
always runs ahead. The one
that always tries to crush me with
Originally published in Literati Magazine, Winter 2005.
Copyright © Lisa Zaran 2005