When at a Certain Party in NYC --- Erin Belieu

Wherever you're from sucks, and wherever you grew up sucks, and everyone here lives in a converted chocolate factory or deconsecrated church without an ugly lamp or souvenir coffee cup in sight, but only carefully edited objects like the Lacanian soap dispenser in the kitchen that looks like an industrial age dildo, and when you rifle through the bathroom looking for a spare tampon, you discover that even their toothpaste is somehow more desirable than yours. And later you go with a world famous critic to eat a plate of sushi prepared by a world famous chef from Sweden and the roll is conceived to look like "a strand of pearls around a white throat," and is so confusingly beautiful that it makes itself impossible to eat. And your friend back home-who says the pioneers who first settled the great asphalt parking lot of our middle were not in fact heroic, but really the chubby ones who lacked the imagination to go all the way to California- it could be that she's on to something. Because, admit it, when you look at the people on these streets,the razor-blade women with their strategic bones and the men wearing Amish pants with interesting zippers, it's pretty clear that you will never cut it anywhere that constitutes a where, that even ordering a pint of tuna salad in a deli is an illustrative exercise in self-doubt. So when you see the dogs on the high-rise elevators practically tweaking, panting all the way down from the 19th floor to the 1st, dying to get on with their long-planned business of snuffling garbage or peeing on something to which all day they've been looking forward, what you want is to be on the fastest Conestoga home, where the losers live and where the tasteless azaleas are, as we speak, halfheartedly exploding.

from 32 Poems