And now it's nighttime in Brooklyn, your expatriate San Diego friends smoking cigarettes and talking about home 3,000 miles away, now just a misty marbled dream. And you talk about old faces you'll never see again and thank god—San Diego can fall to dust and be gone with the wind.

and Jamie Bainer brings home a case of beer and Meghan, and Nick, and Tara, and you clap.

"Where we going tonight?" you ask and their eyes shine happy.

and then 10 a.m., the filth meld of booze and summer heat—and what time is it? What day is it? God only knows when your reality becomes "move"—four letters and a purpose. Keep moving. Keep buying gas every four hours. Keep watching the signs. Keep playing the radio. Keep driving. Keep staring at oily shimmer of mirage. Keep sleeping on floors. Keep plunking postcards in mailboxes. Keep passing out on couches or sideways across friends' beds, your dream-mind racing through old publishing deadlines, nightmares of putting out the magazine, and suddenly there's no cover. There's no back-page ad. Your feature writer is missing. Where's the wine column? There's a fire at the printer. Your computer eats a column FUCK

But you wake up wet with sweat, your heart thumping and thank god your life is still unmoored and that it was all a dream. You dream about San Diego every night, that the magazine is still going that you still go to work every morning and you and your woman still want to die but you wake up and things are different … you hope, you think, you'd like, anyway.

So you meditate on Jamie's fire escape. Late night, the overhung sprawl of city shining beneath you. The rumble of B.Q.E. clatting clat roll clat rack! The fire escape of your ultimate fire escaping.

You call her from Brooklyn and she's happy. You tell stories and it is good. And there are angels in expressways! Flash of semi-trucks bawling! Lights of ambulance blasting down Lorimar. Black girl tries to sell you rock, she says "Smoke rock? You smoke rock?"

"Naw, not me."

Drink more because it feels good when you're already drunk. Talk writing with Jamie because his mind is great. Enjoy life because you haven't in years. Miss your woman because of how she brings her shoulders up slow to her chin, shrugging at the sadness of life, ah, ah, and somewhere across the big blazing continent in LA, Johnny Ramone died last night, prostate cancer, grizzled and unsentimental, a staunch Republican in a land of Liberals. So now in New York bars, bartenders play "I Wanna Be Sedated" three times in a row and everybody gets drunk and shouts the words.

Somewhere in the city, neon lights shine and flash of brownstone apartments where Henry Miller once lived, where mama Maria San Ignacio-Flores—a refugee of Cuba, not yet 40—frets over her cats who stretch and stalk down the hall. Her children are sleeping—thank god—how she wishes they were never born. Because soon they'll be awake and clamoring for breakfast.

"Cap'n Crunch!"

"Lucky Charms!"


"Frosted Flakes!"

Cereals named after movies or TV shows or pop stars Shrek too cereal Sugar cereals she couldn't even afford when good Gilberto was still alive and bussing tables all day down on Bedford, humble and fighting for her, holding her at night, squeezing all alone and whispering sex thoughts into her ears. But her children will soon be watching screaming cartoons, toy commercials with high pitch squeal.

"Mama! Mama! Yo necessito eso!"

and she sits at the table, the rounded wooden kitchen table and stares into nothing.

The Empire State Building outside her window looks like a beautiful rocket ascending to heaven. And "New York to Mexico in under a second!" shouts the billboard.

The cardboard floor roof fire escape is rust steel scaffold built in 1938 by old Joe Palermo in Italy work pants and mud boots. And from inside Jamies apartment comes the smell of pasta sauce and fresh garlic. His roommates are cooking and drinking wine and laughing, the TV broadcasting war news. 1,000 US casualties now in Iraq. Rebel insurgents. Kidnapped civilians beheaded immortally on the internet. Email it to all your friends, you're all so removed. They aren't even people to you. Or the soldier, 20 years old, life ended by secret bearded street bombers or swarthy snipers fighting a war bigger than we know. Allah or God or country and sober-eyed and calm, leveling sights to KR-RACK! an explosion of cooked blood meat brains and gone life. Useless, useless, useless. The age-old squabble of pride and heart. And you can get as piss drunk as you want with your friends in a million cities and watch while so and so phony intellectual asshole passes a bong, and you decline but you keep hitting your bottle!

Nothing hangs weighty as this, but you won't understand anyway. Your life safe and oh workaday troubles and love life troubles, your troubled mind not working as good as it used to—writer's block, depression, anxiety, suicide thoughts, zoloft, obsessing over your girl who's bad news and off with who knows in Virginia, getting drunk with whoever, and going around with who? When? Why? Where? Your worries are small; you have no idea.

Lyrics submitted by lanternsonlakes

Dance to the War song meanings
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