Cross Country Complex

By Kelly Grace Thomas

 

I came on breadcrumb narcissism.

Bloated with the potential

of suburban fame, pushed out the door by the regrets

who could no longer could afford the rent of wondering.

 

I was starving for something and heard Los Angeles

had the biggest all-you-could eat.

All were welcome, until they can no longer button their egos.

Under chaffing dish warm-light sat the counters of criticism.

Second helpings of rejection are extra.

Please don't take more denial than you can swallow.

When you are finished, leave your broken gospels in the deserted daydream hotel

and we will send the maid to clean them up.

 

They Zagat reviewed my visions, assigned star ratings like stereotypes.

Odds laughed at me

like schoolyard bullies.

Stood me up at the alter

where I promised to love myself.

Speak now, or forever hold your dream.

Only the strong should swim in these Malibu currents

Because I know never to take Hope Blvd. after rush hour.

It is stand-still judgment where salaries drive the commute and you are labeled by the freeway

that takes your battered body home.

 

What part of my pride would I put on clearance to know

I’ve met someone else’s definition of success?

The dragons at Chinese Theater wait for another tourist

to fall in the moat of pop-culture.

Sinking like a first grade memory,

believing in the tooth fairy and her pillow promises.

The handprints of my beginnings are laid in these paparazzi poems,

they promised to call but never did.

I didn’t know we would spend every night trying to find a home.

I didn’t know we would become so lost in this hall of mirrors

 

I came on breadcrumb narcissism

looking for unattainable acceptance.

Approval from a God who was built on the lips of No.

I need to remind myself to never forget the uncensored version of my past,

my personality before it was photo shopped.

Because someone out there,

before this commute of canned compliments

and asshole acquaintances

someone out there loved that person

before they got lost in the stares of a million

burnt out bulbs.