exit, stage left


the glaring red glow of the exit sign
beats down on my brow, practically
yelling at me to follow its instruction
the tone of this place has become
oppressive as the wrong people
make the right moves and
the right people are just wrong
i want to tell you that you should
know better than to fuck with
people like me at your age, but
instead i hope you can read it
on my face while i stare at
that damn exit sign over the door
that never closes, yes, opportunities
are omnipresent in this place
i’m sorry for the torment i didn’t
put you though and i’m admitting that
the card i thought was up my sleeve
was not an ace after all, or even a joker’s wild
no, it turns out it was that card in the deck that
had the instructions on it all along and
according to my hand and the exit sign,
i’m told to fold and lose whatever
investment i’ve made thus far
you marked the cards and even though
i knew it, i thought i could read
the cryptic code you scrawled on
my back and neck and face
except i was reading sanskrit
and you were writing hieroglyphics
and neither one of us has the rosetta stone
so i’m finishing my water and tossing
down my dues and following the
lead of so many who’ve passed before me
under the exit sign that you only see
after you’ve come here for a while


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