Left in the Dark

by Gabriel Marcino

William Zaraglia knocked on Johnny's door,

But the response arrived several knocks later

Wearing nothing but boxers and red eyes.

William said, "How are you man?"

Johnny removed the guitar from the couch

And lay down facing a lit joint

He carried on smoking.

He exhaled, "What the fuck do you want?"

William sat down on a plastic chair and said,

"It's been five years since you wrote Empty Bottles and Full Ashtray.

You have no idea how many calls I get about you,

I don't know what to tell the publishers anymore,

What do you want me to tell them?"

Johnny put out the joint and said,

"Tell them to go fuck themselves."

Stretching his arm as far as he could,

He picked up the guitar and started strumming.

William got up and said, "You're not going to make a living

Out of these guitar lessons much longer,

You'll end up sleeping on the street."

Johnny stopped playing and said,

"You'll end up on the street."

William looked down and said,

"Yes we'll both be miserable."

Johnny said, "Speak for yourself. Your misery

Already resides in your fucking stressful suit and tie."

William sat down and said, "Why don't you write anymore?"

Johnny looked at the coffee table and said,

"Is there anything green left in that glass pipe?"

"There you go," said William. "Looks like you really need that."

Johnny said, "Nice," and made some green turn grey.

William took a deep breath and said, "I'm serious,

Why did you stop writing?"

Johnny got rid of a lot of smoke and said,

"The publishers don't want to hear the truth about the world.

They don't want art, they just want cash."

"They just want your work, why do you think

I'm getting all these phone calls?"

"Every time I talk to these merciless refiners,


They want to censure everything.

They want to drown half the words

And cover the rest in sugar,

So people look without being able to read."

"Johnny you are seriously disturbed,

You've done way more than your share of drugs

And you've made them a scarce resource.

All the publishers are doing is expose

Your writing to a larger audience."

"By the time the product reaches the audience,

It couldn't be traced back to me if you took its DNA.

I give the pages the life they lost when the trees were cut.

I don't pour my life into them for the publishers to murder me.

"Come on Johnny, the drugs are speaking on your behalf.

You need to write if you want to survive.

You think everything's all right,

You look at the sunset and it's a work of art,

But in five minutes you'll be left in the dark."

"You are fired," said Johnny.

"Johnny I know""

"Get the fuck out of here."

Johnny stared at the door after William slammed it shut.

When he turned his head, the sky left him in the dark.

He got up, grabbed a bottle of Jose Cuervo, a pen, and a notebook

And wrote "Left In The Dark."

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