The prompt over at NaPoWriMo today was:
It's not yet summer, but
the weather is catching wind
of whatever gust is
shattering the air and I'm a
Flora-full of dandelion,
stuffy nose and fly-away hair.
My apartment once housed
a fifties bus-station,
sometimes I fancy the
late-evening shadows cast
by evening rush-traffic
are really old ghosts still
trying to find their way home.
My backyard is the front-view
world for busy red-breasted robins,
the winter vultures who have tired
of sharing the sky their wing-span.
It's something I always wanted
to understand in childhood dreams
of rocket ships and stars, a first-class
window seat to some other planet;
ideas now as alien as distant
life from planets dwarfed.
I wish I had a porch
with some real privacy to write,
a place to hang my head and cry
when the words refuse my fingers.
Instead, my neighbor is an old man
who hides Budweiser in a
I'm sure he smells of diesel fuel
and armpits, the stale tobacco-breath
of someone else's grandfather.
The streets of my home are
cracked replicas of the 1920's,
the same cold-stone and
city-stingy now as back then.
And somewhere on the sidewalk
near my front stoop, someone's been
writing letters to God in chalk.
Too guilty to read someone else's
silly confessions, I don't stop.
If you walk three more minutes down
the alley past the high-rise boardwalk
you'll find old love letters
ripped apart alongside broken whisky bottles
left by the drunkards and whores
that walk this parking-lot boulevard.
Sometimes I can't believe Sylvia is dead,
perhaps she had a pact with Anne,
and why was the truth of this tragedy
never written in a book, all bubble-gum
glossy and delightful as a pre-sixties screenplay?
I need more places to visit in this
little shitty city where the cops are corrupt
and the officials steal pennies from
the water meters on the daily like gift tips
for the taking. No, I want somewhere
mysterious to wear my black: always
yoga pants or slacks, bifocals in
sharp, dark frames that hide my eyes,
ever-sly in polyester-hipster jeans,
well-read and spy-movie savvy.
But I can't because there's no such a place.
My boyfriend once called this town
the strangest place on earth,
Twilight Zone worthy and penniless.
I agreed back then and I think I still do.
Yes, I come from a town
that houses political criminals,
welfare-republicans and schools
that exploit educational materials
for the superficial worship of sports
so the as-yet-married hussies, with
three kids in tow, can wax their
make-believe sexy to the still-single truckers.
It's a place where no one is ever
really worth remembering until they're dead
except maybe the church whores in high heels
because every good man has to get his fix
rather it's under the table or in the horse stable
out back where the artificial wise men gather.
A young girl drowned here just the other day,
surrounded by friends on the edge
of a cliff on a lake where men gather
the cold, slick bodies of bluegill.
She died surrounded by friends
just out of reach of her hands,
a weird sort of halfway suicide:
just another young thing unfinished.
The story reminds me of the words from an old
lost letter, an epitaph to my last relationship,
the ripped scrapped half of an
acrylic paper: love you forever.
But love, just like unicorns, is
a concept shiny and clever, born
of daydreams as real as the concept never.
Except in rare cases such as the
rabbit made of Velveteen. I believe
he earned the scruff of his fur,
jumped circles across the moon
after the courtesy of fork and spoon.
I guess everybody wants to live free
and love hard but what I fear most
is dark crawl spaces and too-quiet places,
silence thick as grave and falling:
into love, people, strange places.
Yet this city is full of bridges,
swinging the empty of their footholds
next to busy highways and ram-shackled
apartment buildings at the edge of town.
Dilapidated, pull-string, rusty-hinged
of wood and straw, they await the brave,
the hurried who are scurrying,
the deadbeats and the drug dealers,
the gullible woman-child inside us all,
dressed in quick-black and knappy-sack,
moving too quickly to be saved by air
yet much too slow to really make it anywhere.