live romance at neptoon

(inspired by a frantic surprise visit on july 20, 2019, photo documented here by David James Swanson)

100 northern lights staggered southerly as strangers
bedded shoulder-to-shoulder on cooling concrete
shrink-wrapped in wakeful dreams
perspiration a running creek along sacrum
lava plumbed anticipation, flame-seared guts
i fashioned exhaustion like a stevie nicks shawl
angelic wingspan on the fringe, delicate as a needle drop
vocal chords, softly strangled in silk and longing
we waited for the nashville storytellers

a black sharpie tickled a number on my wrist
one of the lucky ones, marked for entry into neptoon
to jam against crated stacks of albums
alternating on tiptoes behind them all, tall and wide
two ceiling fans, like hesitant whispers
you’re not dreaming this
thrusted fanfare boiled over sultry heat and screams
greenlit strangers in surround sound auroras
palpable thrum of shutter speed
camera phone crosshairs for zeus and his trident
words trembled breathlessly through vibrating awe

how quickly romance becomes a memory
three days later, retracing drips of neon on the floorboards
the day the raconteurs came to neptoon
to sing their stories
unmasked in love


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Mala Rai is a poet, drummer, psychology student, and technical writing hired gun on the West Coast. Her most recent poems have appeared in Eclectica Magazine, High Shelf Press, and Anti-Heroin Chic. You can follow her on Instagram @malaraipoetry

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