Happiness

used to be 3am cheeseburgers, shipwrecked in Diet Coke and swirls of attitude about the stripper at Club Predicament next door. We were always blown away by patterns that owned his thighs, tattoos of abstract horticulture that wrapped their fortitudes in myths. Your dead presidents loved to caress their pores, before burying them in the usual junction forged by aromas of sweat, of needy perspicacities on a Friday night, for bros like us, exiled from bromance, wary of heartbreaks that feel like genocide.

*

Indeed, we were citizens in the anthem of DJs, incredulous nationalists in the country of hard-nippled man-tits burning dancefloors with the hustle, the cha-cha, and other nods to disco. Even our evening drives up the Hollywood Hills unzipped another universe of lights. Up there, we were footnotes under a ceiling of stars, floating in tongues and spit, beside the throat of an abyss we were born with.

*

But as always, sensations of immortality crucified odometers against limits, accelerating in privacies behind sunglasses. We were velocity in empty roads that spilled into vast spaces, then into woodsy public parks where evenings clashed in a landscape of silhouettes: the sanctum where bodies severed themselves from names, and other details that once served our faces desperate for morsels of empathy.

M. Leland Oroquieta has been a library page, draftsman, cashier, stray cat, and other things he can’t remember, while reading for a humanities course at university. He lives near the edge of a valley, less than an hour away from an ocean. His work has appeared in Cricket Online Review, Ink Sweat & Tears, Local Nomad: An Online Journal of Writing & Art, and Origins.

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