Our eyes meet in the darkness
Pupils suspended, electrified
Shy, uncertain, you turn away
Your gaze burns off into the air
Like a malfunctioning pinball machine
Or a glow-in-the-dark rug
When they turn the lights on.
The next night, we return
To lose ourselves beneath the crystal lights again
Screens pulsing with cold static
Not half as loud as my heart pounds
When our gazes meet again
I’ve seen you here before, a hundred times.
I’ve watched you every one.
Off in the distance, bowling pins
Crash down like our inhibitions
Our dreams, ignited again by the electric hum
Our only witnesses Pac-Man and Space Invaders,
Our serenade, the pinball machine’s endless cacophony.
Will I ever feel it again?
The thousand eyes on me, burning
From behind row after row
Of pixelated screens with glass
Thicker than your heart
That I have finally penetrated.
Or so I hope—until the lights come on
At the end of the night,
And you slip away yet again.
The dream of making you mine at last
Pops as easily as a bubble
In a glass of soda from the pizza shack out back.
Alone in the back of the bar, I revel in
My shallow victory, those few seconds you were mine,
Until the dream was smothered
Along with a thousand joints in the ashtray
Sucked into the void like a bowling ball
Far beyond the gutter.