Paul lights his cigarette

though smoking seems awkward and forced

thinks he’s so cool like he knows something we all just happen to miss

but he’s just a baby, only 21

on the threshold of manhood

cute, not quite handsome

perfect smooth complexion you can almost feel


Paul has this air of confidence and poise

he fills whatever room he enters

he owns the space, even if he’s not in frame


Madeline is very clearly charmed by him

but she’s too cool to swoon over some boy

he can tell from her smile and the way she tousles her hair

that he’s inches away from having her wrapped around his finger


Like Paul and his unfitting habit of smoking, Madeline shrouds her youth beneath casual illusions

simple tricks of the hand to distract those who watch

so as not to be truly seen

but to portray an ideal image of oneself


In a way, that’s sort of what youth is all about

it’s a game you’re just learning how to play

a magic show

a social experiment

take it all in and examine

look in the mirror

manipulate tweak scratch cut smoke

be somebody


Try something new

try to get laid

and once you think you have it all figured out

the game changes

when it all comes down to it, there are no rules


He’s a bad boy intellectual

She’s a talented beauty with a hypnotic smile

but it doesn’t really matter

since we’re all just playing pretend

or maybe it does…