Ray Charles, Jigsaw, and How I Learned to be Alone on Halloween

IMDB tells me it was 2004.
A mile-marker in pen internet
to remind me
that ten years feels like minutes.
The movies alone is religion
and AAA Cabs is a chariot.
I snuck in to spend Halloween
under the lights.
2004, I was eighteen
and I’d been drinking-
Instead of parading skin,
I’d left week-old friends
with an Irish goodbye,
and an elevator ride
and a trail of Black and Mild.
Who smokes Black and Milds?
I wanted the burn
but was too scared
of my asthma returning.
Parents gave me a credit card
but read through every charge-
Cash at the Exxon
so I could taste college.
The film on my fingers
from the fatty oil
was a precursor
to my Weight Watchers
point total.
Halloween came to me
over a dispatcher’s speaker:
“We got two but one is
puking in the seat so…
I’m leaving them
at Saint Francis.
I’ll come back in fifteen.”
That’s how long it seemed
for me to burn
down to a plastic filter.
I’m a triple-feature-
the king of The Galleria.

-Nicholas Orsini

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