basement concerts and windowsill parties

Remember those times when you were asked
to tell the story of your life in

waiting for the collective qualities
that never seemed to manifest in you
teaching yourself to be unapologetic
various vague noble motivations
lost the second you blink

discarded bottles gleefully smashed,
kicked, flung into the water
polished beach glass washing in
undisturbed on the shore
until the next glittering celebration

repeating words until they lose all meaning
writing rhymes all over yourself
an endless flow of rusted trust
never seems to quench your thirst
lip-syncing in the middle of the road proves to be
slightly more effective

washing out your mouth with sticks and stones
the name you give at the side of the road
a sign you flash so they'll leave you alone
trying things you've never heard of
when you've been to both extremes and
everything in between
fireworks just can't compete

staying on the safe side
when there is no safe side
you deal with what you're dealt and if
some are dealing dirty then it's really not your business
is it?
(selling lipstick and lighter fluid and dirt)

endlessly longing for a secret to keep
dressed to impress, regrets inhaled
reciting fill-in-the-blanks history
blanks fired, forms lost
you know what they said in those days?
"It's just not the same."
the excuse survives
casually sanctified

creative spelling and creative hair
laughing even when you're scared
screaming into the microphone
even though you know you can't sing
the sun's gone down over downtown
you pretend not to care
this, like any other fuel, is dangerous
more than lifelike.

you've only ever been yourself
but at times like this you feel like you've
lived too many lives too quickly
spiked hair gleaming like a black halo
in the streetlight's burnt orange glow
dirty glasses
patched clothes
mirror in one pocket
pen in the other
skater shoes with rainbow laces
all memoirs of when you were
a number, a criminal, graffiti on a fence,
a philosophy, a hairstyle, almost acceptable
a place, a sound
lost, found out.
with blackmasked flashbacks blaring in your ears
you've heard it all before
said it all before
now you're living it for the first time
dusty summer air;
cold hard concrete;
a cause.

how can you believe that we are but
the sum of our misnomers?
look around and see
we are alive
we are the lucky ones
every single second
every single word
every single action is
the future
time changes everything but
we are the ones who shape the change

Alive, I answer
not the expected response,
but that