the credits fly up
with a last mcdonald’s meal,
a suitcase that you carried for me, and
two slim boarding passes with
two different endings.

but when the music stops
and the screen goes dark,
when they come to sweep away
the memory-debris off
the cinema seats, i wonder –

do you still watch those old films?
do you still stay awake, fighting off sleep?
do you still take blurry pictures
of crystal scenes?
do you still switch comic and romantic
with a leading man’s ease?

the cinema is empty
but i never got the nerve to leave.
the past recurs like the men play jazz
everyday in our city – quick and warm and
lonely. the rhythm always
as if missing half the dialogue
in a script lost to the seas.

and i’m left wondering
what happened to the plot-
do you wonder
what you came to mean to me?
do you remember
the city lights awash
with rain and mist, so beautiful
that i couldn’t even see?
do i ever emerge
on your faraway screen?

the credits fly up
only when memories are buried –
an obituary to the past
trapped inside rolling reels
left to the mercy of distance, dust
and the mind’s rudest critics.

the cinema is locked
and i’m still inside, sifting through the pictures,
finally able to see
our ghosts side-by-side on the screen.
the past is playing
slow and cool and lovely.
i think i’ll keep this seat warm forever
your piece of me unable
to be swept away to reality
where movies always end
and life spills soda on my dreams.



*Inspired by the song Movie by Tom Misch

Image from New York Times Magazine’s Love City issue, “24 Kisses Around New York in 24 Hours”, June 2018


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