IS THIS WHAT A QUARTER-LIFE CRISIS FEELS LIKE?: a poem

And she leans over to me and whispers
“I don’t really like your professional self.
It’s not you, or at least not the you that I love.”

She’s pushed hard for me to be real before,
But any time since that confession,
Her voice has echoed brass in my head
Whenever my instinct to entertain takes over.

I’ve always had a way with words,
I just wish they were more meaningful more often.
Small talk comes off my tongue too clunkily,
It hangs mid-air and oozes until someone gets some in his drink.
I’d learned to navigate higher circles with it;
A well-practiced skill like any sportsman’s –
It’s only meant to win games.
With glasses raised, we take aim and pock each other’s egos.

And so tonight,
surrounded by people I’ll never meet again,
free food and white wine for the taking,
and her playing piano in the background,
I squish the urge to pretend to care
just to win their affections and smiles.

These are but baubles in my grocery-store bead bag,
And I only want them because they’re shiny,
Seem nice, and might prove comforting in surplus.

Out of Place. [Original photo by user mayhem (Flickr).]

Out of Place. [Original photo by user mayhem (Flickr).]

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