HOLLYWOOD PARTY #1
WHY ARE YOU HERE?
asked the sleek young actor.
I said that I was invited
by the hosts-
a cinematographer and his wife,
a camera assistant.
I knew them from a student film
the three of us worked on
a few months earlier.
I was a production assistant.
The sleek young actor
looked at me with a mixture
of boredom and feigned interest.
without the aid of computer-generated special effects,
I became invisible.
The sleek young actor,
the gorgeous stand-up comic
who, by day, was a parole officer,
the screenwriter who resolved
to give the Industry whatever it wanted
until he became rich and powerful enough
to ensure that his dream project-
the life story of poet laureate Billy Collins-
would receive a studio green light...
all of them began to talk amongst themselves.
No further attention was paid to me.
Any attempt I made to
participate in the conversation
I didn't mind being invisible.
It was fun to hear the industry gossip
that doesn't make it into the pages of
Premiere and The Los Angeles Times.
It was good to hear about a new health club
opening in West Hollywood.
It was invigorating to discover
that there were four great restaurants
featuring the finest in Nouvelle Cuisine
located within a three-mile radius of my apartment.
It was sobering to discover
That I couldn't afford to eat
At any of the restaurants mentioned.
For another thirty minutes,
I watched the room full of people
About their desire for
Status and Respect.
It was just a matter of time
before they all became stars.
Finally, I decided to become visible again.
I found my hosts,
thanked them for their hospitality
and walked out of their house
into a summer Sunday afternoon in Los Feliz.
I walked to the Skylight Bookstore
and purchased a book by Billy Collins.
Afterwards, I had dinner at the House of Pies.
Once I finished dinner,
I returned to my apartment.
I read Billy Collins' entire book,
Then I fell asleep.
I dreamed of Status and Respect,
Fame and Fortune
And my newfound resolve
To never embarrass a party guest
By asking him or her
WHY ARE YOU HERE?