Monthly Archives: March 2013

Then You Walked Away

The music goes around and around your once sweaty head – your hair now icicles
And you stand here with one thought dripping unevenly from your tongue
Your mind feels like a bad mistake you can’t take back now – a punch line they never got
Tonight for a brief shard in your fractured timetable you were – that’s all; you were
She brought it all back to you and them before you said good-bye – before the snow
Then you walked away – leaving her in the big red room with laughs and rum but not you
Then you walked away – leaving her in the winter night that meant so little to so many

The music goes round and round and you are alone and she is alone – you walked away

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…the storm raged around him

There was no apology for his violent reaction to the cool later summer breeze
His head whistled around on his shoulders like a broken circus toy
His knees buckled under the weight of the charred remains of his soul

He finally allowed her to peel away the dead skin that protected him
She dragged him out of the darkness where he had lingered for so long
Her strong back propped him up against the storm that raged around him

A sliver of sun punctured the sky and forced its way out and across her face
The ray of light brought with it the warmth and love of a litany of strangers
He wrapped himself around her tender body but it was she who protected him

In Kentucky

She glides easily up Alta Street through the light Kentucky snow
Weaving her way between the sparse snowflakes that hit the dirty ground
She moves like a dancer – or a panther – or a warm wave of water
She creates a path of least resistance and navigates it calmly

She carries stories of the war – not today’s war but a sepia-toned memory
She talks about the people from there and how they came to be here
She tells me stories of my city – stories that were secrets until today

Her face flashes fame – but her soul can’t be bothered
Her eyes are the safest place in the Bluegrass state
Her spirit is like the art she surrounds herself with
She illuminates anyone lucky enough to get close even if only for forty-eight hours
In Kentucky – on Alta Street – on a Monday in March

Fighting Gravity

God’s marionette dips and sways defying years of abuse
The precarious strings are attached to his head and his shoulders
The strings on his elbows and knees have broken like his heart
The strings on his elbows and knees have broken like his promise to Nana

God’s marionette should have fallen down by now
He fights gravity as fiercely as he fights the memories of his youth
Sometimes he just freezes – Venus De Milo in a down coat and skull cap
Other times he stretches backward as he lifts the dark brown bottle to his lips
Somehow how he is buoyed by that one more mouthful of failure

He is someone’s son – uncle – punch line – target – ticket – friend – victim – muse
He is God’s marionette and tonight he is fighting gravity

To the Window Washer on Addison Street in the Snow

Red knit Chicago Bulls hat pulled low and a tan corduroy jacket
He don’t know nothin’ bout no Saint Paddy – no how
Today is another day for work – those windows ain’t gonna wash themselves

Money is hard – too hard for a green hat and a green shirt and some green beer
There’s babies at home and school and bread and peanut butter and soap
Don’t understand a day they celebrate a girl peeing in the alley behind a 7-11

Don’t nobody work no more?

The snow came without warning and everyone is shivering in their leggings
Sweet Swinging Billy Williams and Ron Santo are not even fazed by the cold white swirl
This snow is gonna be real bad for business – who wants to look out into that
Catch the Red Line home and there might be time for the news or a ball game or the lottery numbers

August

Trying to wrest some logic out of a perfect Saturday afternoon in August
To extract some meaning from the flawless day that finds you moving – easily –
between the rays of sunshine
The pace – on days like these – alternates between lazy and slow
And you stop for a minute to try and capture it
To lock it away on this fresh little tablet – procured from the grocer
You can bring these recollections out on a less than perfect day
Maybe you can betray these words for pieces of silver in hopes of making an impact:

I
There are boys in the schoolyard behind the square residential units
Their biggest fear is not being able to hit the longball
Their only flaw is their aluminum bat
Where is the wooden bat tonight?

There is a girl in the schoolyard on rollerblades
A lifetime ago she would have interrupted one of our games
She is the original distraction factor
But boys could never cry

II
There is a melancholic nostalgic feeling gripping the young man’s gut on a breezy, sunny
Saturday afternoon
The feeble roar of the man-made waterfall does nothing to assuage or incite the grip
The sound is simply a static irritant like when you can’t tune in the radio
Like when you fall asleep in front of the TV and wake up after the station has signed off
This is not a summer sound – it is not rhythmic or sensual – it is ugly
The young man sits on a rock and scratches words onto a fresh little tablet
His stomach and his heart are locked in this melancholic embrace
His mind rolls back the black and white film of all of the Augusts before this one
The Augusts before life began to pin his shoulders to the mat
That brief flicker of time when nothing mattered and he didn’t care if it did
His body was stronger and much more flexible back then
Minutes seemed like hours then and distance was completely distorted
Each day was a symphony – his soul was the conductor
Each day was a joyful sonic mystery that he was unaware of at the time
But now he misses them desperately
He is sitting on the rock composing the final movement of the concerto he’ll call August

III
The artist is growing slowly older
He forces the words onto the paper
The waning days of summer get caught in his throat
He doesn’t want to write so much
As he wants to hold the pen up
Let the pen do the writing
The waning days of summer are on the tip of his tongue
The last days of another August
The last few bittersweet minutes
Of the waning days of summer
Roll around in his stomach
When he steps out into the humid night