After seeing "Casablanca" for the fiftieth time on TV the other night, I found myself in a rare mood of nostalgia when ideas wrapped in trench coats seemed to mean something. Nostalgia is never a good thing but I couldn't help myself. If you yourself have waited for the plane to Lisbon, then this is for you.

IF I SOUND LIKE HUMPRHEY BOGART

If I sound like Humphrey Bogart
as I read you this poem
it is only because
The night plane to Lisbon
has never come for me
No matter how many trench coats
made from gabardine
that I keep in the closet
along with other existential souveneers
from Tangiers
No matter how many shots of bourbon
go down the throat of Rick Blaine
as Ilsa Lund tortures him
with her black and white mouth
that went out of fashion long ago

The night plane to Lisbon
has never come to this place
Surrounded by Wal Mart think tanks
Surrounded by the brutal refute
Surrounded by movies that are made
by focus groups
We swallow beautifully shaped pills
that we prescribe to ourselves
to make from ourselves
the advertisements for ourselves
O for the longing for ourselves
From nocturnal runways of fog
that leave from Casablanca
I have waited my turn in line for
A thousand times

If I sound like Humphrey Bogart
as I read you this poem
it is because
My pockets are filled
with dirty cigarette butts
It is because my saloon
is filled with drunken sailors
It is because his voice
has replaced my own

Filled with gravel and blood
on long distant runways
no one can even remember


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