He worked nights while she worked poles

They promoted him at the restaurant just when got tired of delivering burritos and had wanted to quit. To his dismay, he actually accepted the offer. The dream of saving money for a new car may just have been written in his fate. He now took over the management aspects of the burrito business. Every night at two AM, he gathered money at the register and closed the store. It was an upgrade from delivering burritos at night and almost getting killed by hoodlums. He was making decent money now; enough for meals, keeping up with his portion of the rent, and fueling his gas. As a bonus, he got a free burrito dinner every night.

After the drunk college kids left his store that night, he closed the register before heading home.

She grinded on a pole going up and down. The balding and drugged men looked at her with their mouths open. She moved her hips around over their glaring eyes. They followed wherever she moved. On the other side of the stage, another balding high man was offering her some money, she pranced over there and got down effortlessly. He placed that money under her stringed outfit that covered nothing, and she air-rubbed herself over his face. She went back to the pole and glided her behind up and down, shaking her bosom, as more men’s eyes followed her every little move. The air was stale and smokey. The music was loud and thumping, and the colorful lights came and went in strobes. Her hair was long, blonde, and full of hairspray. Her eyes and lips were painted in heavy colors. She smoked her cigarette as she danced slowly.

At the apartment, his roommate slept on the couch with the television and lights on. There was an ashtray with recent smoke from cigarettes fading away at the table. His roommate’s short hair was all messy, and he was drooling from the mouth. He took his shoes off and turned the television off. He turned the living room lights off and headed to his little closet sized room.

His room was messier than it typically was. He hadn’t had time to do laundry, so his bedsheets were still dirty and ruffled. He went over and smelled it. It still smelled of drugs and sex from days ago. He laid down on his bed, too tired to change his clothes. He turned off the lights and went to sleep.

A few weeks later, he finally met her at the strip club. He was one of the few guys there that wasn’t balding or old. She sat next to him, and they chit chatted while she smoked her cigarette. He inhaled the smoke that loomed near him.
“So are you gonna kick him out?” She asked him.
“I thought about it” he responded.
She took another drag; her red painted lips sucking on the little cigarette and releasing smoke, “I say just do it. He hasn’t helped you out with the rent in months! Months!”
“I know, but I’m a nice guy” He looked at the table and played with his finger.
“Being a nice guy doesn’t help pay the rent” She shrugged, “Listen. Tell him he needs to either get a job and pay up immediately, or you’re getting a new roommate or moving out.”
“I wish it was that easy.”
“Are you in love with this guy?” She laughed, “You make it sound like you’re getting a divorce.”
At this moment he looked up at her and said, “No, I’m in love with you.”
She looked at him frustratingly and blinked her eyes, “Hey…” She said as she shook her head and put the cigarette on the ashtray, “You know my situation. We’ve talked about this before; you’re my good friend and you always will be! I gotta get back on stage.”

And with that, she got on stage and spun on a pole. She glided down and spread her legs slowly amid the hazy air.

He delivered burritos

Their story’s never complete. It always stopped in the middle before any climax happened. Just like when he stopped talking about the time he was taken advantage of, and she couldn’t pry further. Mouth locked and zipped without gap.

He delivered food though, during times like Covid-19, and he went to shady houses owned by drug dealers and sex offenders.

He was on a mission to become rich enough to buy a new car. One that would lead him to drive cross country, so that he could view the stars clearly from Utah.

He grasped what he could carry and headed out the door. He had on his cap, jeans, jacket, and an ambitious drive.

Who knew burritos would be the cause for some really scary near death experiences. Hoodlums stopped him in his tracks when he headed near the drug dealer’s house to deliver burritos. One held a knife to his throat and the other pointed a gun at him before he entered the gate.

“What’s in that bag?” the one pointing the gun inquired.
“Burritos” he confided.
“You got any money?”

He gave the hoodlum whatever change he could scrape from his wallet. He also gave him the bag of burritos. They then let him go by the gate and drove off. He went back to his ratty car all shaken up. He had no burritos to deliver and no money in his pocket. He headed back to the restaurant.

Few strippers tried to entice him at the bar that evening, but he had no money to give them. He had no money for drinks either. He was friends with one of the girls there, but she wasn’t working tonight. A different dancer glided on her pole and winked at him. He glared beyond her; still shaken up from the encounter earlier.
After her duty, the stripper even suggested they hook up later, but he wasn’t into her.

He went to his rented unit that was pretty much a walk-in closet in an apartment that he shared with another friend. It was dark, gloomy, and the bedsheets needed to be laundered. He slipped in there and went to bed. He shut his eyes hard in an effort to go to sleep.

The next day, he quit his job, and wondered where life would take him next.

Her routine

She walked around her new city. The streets were narrow, and the shops were small. The smell was of piss and pastry, coffee, and alcohol. There were high-end stores, and roadside stalls. There were girls in fancy dresses and men who slept on the streets. It was a city of extremities, of highs and lows, an immersion in contradiction, and a mixture of feelings.

Just like how she was feeling that exact moment when she smiled under the streetlights at dusk while looking at the subtle raindrops. It was spring season, and the air smelled of salt from the nearby seas. And piss. There was always the smell of lingering piss. Piss and salty sea air. Such was the city by the seas.

She moved here when she wanted to move away from her previous city. Now that she was here, it was only natural for her to soak it all in and belong to it. She was one with this city. It was her home now, for however long she was going to be here next.

She walked into her apartment, and the cats came prancing at her feet. There were three of them; Catskill, Lidia, and Annalee. Annalee was a stray she had found near the trash bin at this new place. Catskill and Lidia were adopted from the local animal control center in her previous city.

After giving them their food, she went into the kitchen and microwaved something she had made last week. Then she opened her laptop, read the news; lots and lots of news, and went to sleep. The next morning she went to her office, worked very late, came home, fed her cats, microwaved something off the fridge, read lots and lots of news, and went to sleep.

The weekend came and she went for a walk in the woods.

The weekday came and she continued with her everyday routine: work, cats, food, news, sleep. Then the weekend came and she went for a walk in the woods. Then the weekday came, then the weekend.

Then suddenly something happened; it was her birthday. She was miserable. She avoided all phone calls from family and friends giving her celebratory cheers. After breaking down and crying while reading news, she went to sleep.

The next day she was back into her same weekday norms. Then several days later, the weekend norms.

Life just happened. It just flowed until she moved to another city where she would take in a new cat and continue with her routine.

Ota Benga: The Congolese Pygmy Who Became a Zoo Exhibit — The Vale Magazine

How is this different from the current consumption and exploitation of animals?

Ota Benga at the Bronx Zoo holding a chimpanzee (1906) Around the beginning of the last century—in 1906, to be exact—the 4’11” Ota Benga was featured in an infamous… 515 more words

Ota Benga: The Congolese Pygmy Who Became a Zoo Exhibit — The Vale Magazine

Air guitar

Mars seems so habitable right now
the flat air and silence
the desert sand and rocks
hues of yellow and red
like the colors in my heart for you
sitting side by side with you
as we watch this dead land
so alive next to you
awakens the childish spirit in me
with the tune of your air guitar
while you play with your hairs blowing
your hips before my face
play that tune baby

The feelings meet

Pink white frills
plastic cup dreams
the smell of sweet candy perfume
boys in molded shapes
and far away
glares he,
outside his window
towards me on TV
the history rolling outside
captured in now decades old TV shows

Back when I stood wearing my skirt
not knowing you wanted to caress my legs
and to grab hold of everything
that laid tethered to me
for you to consume whole
struck in my wonder of you
your want of me
the feelings meet

In the heat of Asia

We just wanted to play around
all day and night
content and not seeking anything more

Damp nights in Asia
just walking the quiet night streets
owning
world clasped in hands
careless, just skidding off fun

What every aspiring rock star wanted in late nights
after the wee hours of an ending party
some things to talk about
some pains to share
some loves to give and take
to make

Swimming the sea in the depths of his eyes
the whirlpool flies high
the night goes backwards
and we’re semi young and looking again
in the crux of age-old aspirations and reality checks
at the seams of innocence

In the depths of your eyes
reflections of long-ago childhood
people who just wanted to have fun
but died too fast
no clarity on future

Just this pivotal moment
In-between stage
in your eyes
in the heat of Asia

Played by music

I don’t know what’s real or not

I don’t know what’s real or not
I know it’s real
when you ate that orange with sheer delight
and licked your lips
when there’s a far-off tone to your voice
when I heard your breath during sunrise

It may be unreal
when you dissipate from thoughts like the shifting of sands
when you’re not who I want to hold hands with
as we stand dying
when I’m ok
with or without you

while I look back
and wonder if it was real or not

the sounds of you eating
the tingle in your voice
the whistle of your breath

neglected from my mind

the image of you eating
the whistle of your breath

in my thoughts

the sounds of you breathing remains

reminding me it was real

just maybe

Promises and forever

‘Promises and forever’; he held her tightly, sitting by the steps. They posed for a picture together, his face next to her neck. Their smiles, content. It was fall season with cool weather, but his hold around her waist was warm. Wherever they went, he always held her dearly. He cared deeply. That’s just who he was. She wore a long warm skirt and a thick wide scarf. He wore jeans and a thick plaid shirt. They walked together hand-in-hand in cool weather, soaking in each moment and being present. It was so real and so imminent. This promise and forever. Time circled back to the steps where they sat together for a photo, then when they walked hand-in-hand together in cold weather. The promise of forever. So imminent, so real. Back to the steps
back to the walk
so imminent
the steps
the walks
forever.

Just stay

On an open carriage, over the soft comfortable fragrant hay, they lay. Next to each other, looking at the other. The soft breeze travels by
and takes a strand of her hair and makes it fly. The sun reflects off his face, smelting gold in the daylight. The buggy wiggles and rolls, while moving down the path. Vast green lands down yonder with tints of yellow. Summer’s blue skies and white clouds few and far between all over. Two hearts like no other. Two clasps with each finger intertwined. Two bodies at rest, complete though time. Nothing to say. Just stay. As is.

Sharing you in this rusty red crusty make believe

Must I, if I, can I
share you for a bit?
I promise it’ll only be a century
of love fking as bright as day
holy sunshine, scattered through our bodies
as time flies
who cares
when there’s you and I and nothing
real anyway

Let the sound of whiney music speak for itself
let the mad people keep turning up again and again like clockwork
we got the whole damn paradise
right here baby
in this delusion

But it’s not, I promise
read the words of a liar and trust it
because it’s not a lie if it’s the holy truth for a minute

Will we continue to get high
lost
and fly through some rusty landscape
a jacked-up location
than the ones our childish eyes had ever dreamt of?
Is this the reality now?
Soaring through some rusty red crusty brown make-believe
ride after ride
high after high
with silence as the end

This minute

And just like that, it goes away

This random feeling amid a sea of constant boredom
that sparks that you are a week soul inside
and that you’re truly lost, just like everyone else
when your intentions are mistaken
leading to this ability to drop everything
and to be ok with the end

Is this what one feels when they have their heads in a guillotine?
Or before the onset of slaughter, when animals have their limbs tied down?

Definitely not living the best of it
or even making the best of it
this minute