I Cried Alone in the Dark at the Historic Capitol Theater | Jensen Soderlund

Timo Volz via Pexels

It’s an illusion that you can start over.

When I was a kid, my brother had a lego set

of Taipei 101. I wonder what it’s like

to be the biggest thing in the world for just five years.

I fold up silly thoughts like these in thirds and

stack them in the playroom closet with other excuses

for calling Mom, because “I miss you, I love you,

I’m sorry,” still aren’t enough for me.


You still don’t understand me?

I learned what betrayal meant at nine years old;

not through tapes of Japanese baseball games,

though I’m sure the Rangers were losing a game that night.

I remember when Nelly Cruz broke my heart in 2011

and it’s easier to say he’s the reason I can’t trust men.

I’ve lost count of how many times

my sister has seen me at my worst.


I’m leaving.

A man in the movie says “That used to be a vegetable store…

now look at all these cars here.”

I wonder what the Northwest version is of “I remember

when there was a cornfield there, but now it’s a Walmart.”

What used to be in the ground beneath the Safeway,

if the sky is hazy with dirt from digging up the old Tacoma

or smoke from Canadian flames.


Not tonight.

Gambling’s for suckers and deadbeats and

I think I must be both because

I’m betting on myself the way the singer

on my new CD bets on losing dogs,

the way my uncle bets on pocket aces with pink Starbursts

and my friend bets I’ll love this movie he loves.

Not everyone can be a winner, I suppose.


I’ll get confused again if I stay.

There was lightning last night

as I drove south on new tires and dark pavement,

fog that turned the streetlights dusty gray.

Sometimes I want to drive eleven hours

to the nearest Dunkin’ Donuts and never come back,

but my steering wheel still veers to the left

even when I’m driving straight. I should get that fixed.


I need to think clearly.

Maybe this poem is too specific, but please tell me

has ANYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD ever found themselves

in Olympia, Washington, of all places,

maybe wearing black Converse or Eddie Bauer jeans or a leopard print top,

snotty nosed and red eyed over nothing in particular???

Maybe you bought a present for your friend’s birthday

and ate pizza outside while reading a book you’re scared to finish.


I’ve made a lot of mistakes lately.

I’ve never been to Taiwan but I’ve stood on rooftops with boys

I might have loved but shouldn’t have.

It feels gross to admit but I’m grateful to them

because they all loved movies (I guess I have a type)

and now I love movies, maybe more than I ever

could have loved any of them, or anyone else

ever again.


Nobody warned me.

I miss my best friend so much it hurts sometimes.

I know that’s just a thing people say,

but sometimes when I’m crying in a movie theater,

my chest feels so heavy I can’t move.

And if I had her there to hold my hand

the sad scenes might be easier to bear

or at least I’d have someone crying with me.


I need to think.

The calendar on the wall will say November soon,

and Marilyn Monroe deserved better, and

Shelley Duvall deserved better, and

all of us deserve so much better.


twitter: @sorryimaleo

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