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A detail of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

Horns bust out the speakers
Someone croons out his misery
Some come here for company
Others chase foolish dreams
Are a pen and a pad all you need?
Maybe that’s why you came here hungry
Old bread and condiments
Coffee stains on white plates
Sugar shakers and ketchup bottles
A cup of coffee at this hour
Brings out my inner night owl
I see people as they are
At night they take their masks off
Let their secrets breathe out
But the sharks still watch

Their love leaves holes
Like an attic filled with old clothes
A basket filled with lonely notes
A spleen punctured with shotgun holes
My pen moves faster than their men in trench coats
Who keep their eyes on patrol
Confiscating ideas writ on post-it notes
Into metal empty drawers

I always have the last word
I never the last laugh
I always want people to hear me talk
But I never let them know what it’s all about
I always have something to say
But never do I have a moment to say it

Maybe it’s the way she smiles
Makes the ribs pinch the walls of my stomach
It’s so loud when it gets all quiet
You’re always reading yesterday’s news
Maybe she’ll come around
Don’t presume to know what you don’t
Don’t be modest
It’s dishonest
We all know what you really are
She is the steam that rises from a coffee cup
The caffeine taken black pooling in my stomach
A cup of her at this late hour
Brings out my night owl

I’m waiting on a train
Last one came an hour late
I’m just a pen and a pad of ideas
The last one came a two hours late

By Ashish Seth

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