Graffiti found in an LA bathroom stall at 2:24 AM

by Ariel N. Banayan

smoking is my healthiest habit

prayer is my final sin


I am a lot lonelier when reading a poem


the air growing dirtier, I suddenly imagine ash

neatly sitting on everything around me as the torn shadow


of a burning plane still in flight—


loneliness is my only joy


happiness & transcendence & flight are not the same

paradise anymore


so I hold loneliness near my dusty body

despite its transience & I cherish

a feeling not found in ads



people have better things to do than read

I realize

as the hollow nightcolor presses against my skull

with its empty hand

to carve a face from ice



Ariel N. Banayan is an Iranian Jewish writer born and raised in Los Angeles. He is currently a graduate fellow at Chapman University’s dual MA/MFA degree program, where he teaches a class on the rhetoric of memory to first-year students.



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