“The Sparkle of Extinct Stars” by Ian Ayres

Ian Ayres (Walk of Fame) Hollywood Star

Dying TV sucks stars into a deep green void

& I’m reflected there, on my knees for nothing

nothing but this audience in my head

these front-row critics telling me I don’t matter

this gun to my left temple

cocked, with tense black finger ready to squeeze

the trigger, the trigger

& my brains will explode out my skull

grayish-orange on graffiti wall

as I stare into dilated, cracked eyes

bugging out of his wet, street-stricken face

sweating poison, hate & fear

telling me white boy ain’t got no business

in a black junkies’ ghetto

cold barrel pressed to my temple’s throb

a simple flex of his finger &

Oh, God, help me!

till something inside me clicks

& I know I’ll be forgotten

by my mother in prison, blocking out truth

tuning in to comedy

change the channel & it’s just the news

showing an 18-year-old white male corpse

under a sheet in a condemned building

forgotten the second commercials begin

& I promised God, if that trigger wasn’t pulled

I’d become so famous I’d live on in the minds

of every generation to come

“Fame, fame, fame” blasted from my stereo

as I lived to record my existence: Forever

so when I’m stardust in a box I’ll be

communing with fans flowering my grave: Forever

till 20 years later

my friend Allen made it clear not even our planet’s

Forever

& he aimed the bloodstained tip

of his diabetes test-strip

at the candle & its pulsing flame

at the door in its light-seeping frame

at my arm, down its rising blue vein

& called it all the same shimmering energy

for day is stardom engulfed in night

clinging

to different layers of light

like when I was 8

& my eyes were camera shutters

that caught each passing freeway lamp

me, looking up, alone in the backseat

while our drunk father drives

his fingers into my little sister’s crying “no”

my eyes catching each bright light

zooming in, zooming above

flashing like camera-bulbs

taking pictures of the future me

just a quick shut of my eyes

“no” my sister scoots away

but he orders her to sit close, as usual

& more pictures are taken of the greatest dreamer

the world has ever seen

because of the alarms screaming

because our ship is sinking

because I’m trapped in air

mesmerized by the sparkle of extinct stars

& breathe in the illusion

that Fame can last Forever

though I gasp when she gasps, drowning

yet hang on to dreams of going down

in a history that’s going down

as I climb to the heights of stardom

where my eyes will widen, with one final tear

& my mouth will open

in disbelief

not knowing what to do at death

except pretend?

pretend I’m a success?

filled with fear

doubts that linger

of not having loved enough

not having saved her

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