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I looked for you at the dime museum. I looked for you at Coney Island. You never arrived. Everything happens to me in threes. Strangers or not. We were never and always were. I spell your name in my sleep, and sometimes I put it on the covers of paperbacks. The sleek noir music, the girls in cowboy boots, the hurl and testy squawk of a woman washing her car. It’s all hum and drum, and then some. There was always too much honking, things that shattered and roved and distracted the curve from the wheel. Saws that cut us in two, finally, and there were too many exits to run to. Besides, plans happen and then they don’t. We get caught staring at each other through a fish tank. The meal’s expired. Like trying on handcuffs for size, we just shouldered each other’s haul one sleeper car after another. I was running from the law through most of it. Openly haunted and tempered in the hug of dresses that don’t wear so well anymore. My mother in Queen Victoria’s dress, in the brownstone of her dreams. Just about wrong. Finding out’s its own law, and I’m pushed by and through it, or maybe thrown. It’s mostly just the same. I do not go to aquariums or smile at small children on the street. There are no brunches pending, no dates to save. The people next door collect my mail. A punch in the gut and you’re done for. That’s just another that. Buried alive; barely breathing. It’s the boardinghouse blues I’ve got. I am not any prince of the air, or anything, anymore. Just resorted to being The Wild Man, again, in the sideshow that’s become my life. Strip me nude and search me. I don’t want another out. Lock me in a water-filled milk can and call my lawyer. Stitch me up in the belly of a whale. The box of me has gone overboard. I’m on to nothing. Shoestrings and straitjackets and an elephant for Martinka. Vaudeville’s never coming back. My profits are forever too meager. Fuck the psychics and the mediums. And fuck “Sir” Arthur Conan Doyle. I’m opening up a diner called “Harry’s Hanger.” Liver sandwiches and pâté for the weary. My long frock coat and tie have long gone out of style. I’m just some short bow-legged guy with a penchant for escaping. The young Hungarian magician with the pleasant smile and easy confidence is tired of fighting. Send my farewell to the ushers and the busboys, the grooms, the bootblacks, and the never-married. Rosabelle believe, please. I’m not coming back.

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