When I was young, I would sneak out onto my roof with my father's cigarettes and chain smoke. They knew I did it. They found the butts on the ground in the yard. But no one said anything.
I sat up there, puff puffing away, texting a girl I thought I could never out grow.
"Run away with me," she said. I wanted to. I almost did. But I was almost done with my senior year of high school. Things were okay for me for the first time in years.
She never forgave me for saying no. The last time...
Maybe we all do. Maybe we all did. Precious things like our youth framed by handle bars, the hole dug beside the roots.
When I first got the hang of whistling, I sang at the birds. But I was just the needle through which they thread. Winter was rolling down those cooling autumn hills. The flocks were heading south for those mountains.
There was gold in those mountains, precious like the air between a frame.
the city was empty
winter empty, not
snowstorm home-bound, not
bound for Myrtle Beach, or
flown to Florida or
wherever the hell
the neighbors went.
Christ, doesn't anyone stay
Sit on the deck in frayed nylon
I can't even find them in
the stores anymore.
where did everyone go?
it's the city...
"I hope we never grow up," Kate said.
"We will," answered Petra, "But we don't need to grow old."
The memories of that day forty years ago raged like a swollen river in Kate's mind. They had been 10 years old, dressed up in her mother's too large dresses, jackets and hats. They had a tea party and Mr. Bear was making some very funny jokes. Dolly was being quiet and nibbling at her cookies. But Petra was singing and dancing.
"I'll marry a handsome man who will take me to dances in castles," she had said.
A tear pooled...
I remember the smell of wet snow on a blinding morning. Squinting through glare and steam. Battleship twigs wobble in a frozen puddle. The neighbor's bell-bottoms dark blue to the knees. She sank in a soft mountain of snow, but extracted herself with the confident strength of the Bionic Woman.
The crows were flying silhouettes, Japanese ink on a rice paper landscape. The country was preparing for our spectacle. There would be battleships in the harbor, fireworks from the torch, old songs that would not die.
But on this day, in the insulation of a winter morning, we weren't thinking...
My father was born. The pressed leaves of Limerick brushed from the crib. A mirage shimmers over the pond. Ships and flags and trucks. Red brick stoops on analog streets. Lamps on the corners.
We move and it is 30 years later. Soon the crushed leaves of New York gather. The east coast bleeds in tides, rushing us over the Plains.
In the West, we dry in the momentary sun, then open our mouths for the never-ending rain.
The Bronx Zoo in my mind was empty. Maybe the gazelles were milling around Yankee Stadium, waiting for Catfish Hunter. The green grass of memory, my synapses folding in the sweeping July breeze, beheld the sweet roots of my birthday candles, climbing the kitchen air like lithesome monkeys, nimble as the imagination.
Anyway, after the assembly, the fourth-graders signed up for whatever instrument interested us.
"I like the saxophone!" So my parents signed me up for the saxophone.
Later, when we went to the music rental shop, I was presented with the saxophone. I was confused as it did not resemble what I thought was a saxophone. Where was that brass tube that slid in and out?
What a dumb kid! I wanted to play the trombone, but thought it was called a saxophone. I never protested, shy and passive as I was. So I learned to play the saxophone.
Day 1750: It feels eerily similar to Day 1. I wake up with the sun beating down on my face, no longer held in check by the facade I'm sleeping against. The heat is starting to sting, which I contemplate for a few moments. I'm so glad to be feeling something upon my skin which isn't gravel or my own beard, curling back up to itch me in the very same spots where I'm sore. It's as if even my own face wants nothing more than to detach and fly away.
Blue open windows,
training wheels on the driveway,
Papa let me fly.
wedding bells for fireflies,
the laughter echoes.
the rain never goes away,
I'll always love you.