Tag Archives: kids

At Scott Powell‘s Desk

The slow moving plane flying over our heads
Underscores the reason we are all assembled here
Sitting at Scott Powell’s desk
The Pentagon cop shuffles back and forth
The kids glide about gracefully – mostly quiet
Some of the kids aren’t very quiet
That’s the nature of kids.
The Pentagon cop is there to keep the peace
He needs more than that bottle of water to keep his cool
The gravel we walk on is all that is left of the building
The gravel that we walk on is all that is left of Scott Powell’s desk
The gravel that we walk on is all that is left

The gravel gets stuck in our shoes
The shoes of the serious adults
The shoes of the curious kids

The day is perfect here at Scott Powell’s desk
The sun is warm like real love
The breeze is crisp like October

The affect is hypnotic
The affect is transcending
The affect is bittersweet

The trees struggle to keep their color
They struggle for their lives
They struggle to survive for the 184 who lost their lives here

Scott Powell’s desk is weathered and worn like me
Worn like these kids far from the safety of home
Worn like the Pentagon cop and his jaunty shuffle
On this perfect autumn Day

Pentagon memorial
Washington D.C.

I Was Remembering

I was remembering the night on the old mattress
Black light Jimi Hendrix stapled to the ceiling
Our pants were around our ankles shirts around our necks
Elvis playing on an 8-track player hidden under the blanket
Your breath was sweet and moist from the wine
Your hands were urgent but they weren’t very experienced
The strength of 10 horses held my heart inside my chest
Your skin was like cream–smooth and flawless
My hands were rough
I was afraid that my calluses would scrape away the finish
But I couldn’t stop at that point
You did though, you sat up and reached for a Salem
I let my shoes hit the floor
Before I began searching for my lighter and the 8-track player
A figure appeared in the doorway
But it disappeared just as quickly
I put a fresh Elvis tape in the player
The smoke from our cigarettes crept out the window
When you pulled your sweater over your head
You messed up your hair but you looked even better
I stopped for a minute to look at you sitting there
I remember falling back into your arms
Elvis filled the room again
And for just that moment I was him
He was me and with you
And every star in your view
Belonged to me that night

That October Afternoon

Who was watching that October afternoon?
While my mind was being swatted back and forth
The rackets sending it over the little net
The rat-tail corner of an American flag
Smacked me hard across the face
But the irony is totally lost to me
The greasy Elvis impersonator sipping whiskey
Right there in front of me and everyone
The sweet young innocent teasers
Flipping up their little skirts
Offering quick flashes of their little asses
Untouched at twenty years and counting

What am I doing here anyway?
I should be mending fences at least
Maybe making diamonds out of coal
This is not the time or the place
To think the things that I am thinking
All I can do for the rest of the afternoon
Is hide behind my sunglasses
And crawl inside of my walkman
And hope that no one notices me
And if my mind hits the ground
I will scramble to pick it up
Before the games begin again

When They Were Nina

A red moon sets over crowd gathered at the Humboldt Park boathouse
Nina has stubbed her toe and now she won’t play with the others
The children swimming in the lagoon are completely unaware of Nina’s misfortune
But the adults feel a gentle tug at their hearts – remembering their own stubbed toes
Remembering their own summer days in this pastoral sanctuary in the middle of the city
Remembering when they were Nina – just beginning to spread their own wings

Home Movies

The lie that I call my childhood
Unfolded before me in 8mm glory
Sputtering along on the sprockets
Wrapped in an eerie rhythmic silence
Images flicker by across the little screen
Frame after frame of irresponsible innocence
The safety that the old shoe box held
has been betrayed
The shelf in the deepest corner
Of my father’s closet
Holds nothing now except for dust
Thick gray dust
The 8mm home movies defy the video age
Much the same way as they defy
My memories of youth

Summer is Upon Us

I heard there was a fire in the laundry room of my building last Tuesday
A dead white cat in the dumpster is not the best notice for next of kin

Standing in the dirty sunlight I watch for the mail carrier – discussing Elvis movies
The little guy swears Ann-Margaret is only in one – I say two – he’s the savant

His hair is perfect but the sides of his mustache don’t reach the sides of his mouth
It makes me itch – I haven’t combed my hair since last night and he doesn’t care

The old Mexican ice cream vendors are trying to tempt the high school girls who are
Trying to tempt the high school boys who tempt each other with hair gel and heroics

This would be the perfect time for a cigarette – a cigarette and a story about the old man
I walk back up the stairs empty handed – the mail isn’t coming but summer is upon us

A Letter to Ginger

Reflecting on a cherry moon

The rain is pounding – without mercy – on the dirty streets around where I live – the water is running along the chipped cement curbs and heading to some unknown place. I stand against the blonde bricks of the large building in live in and watch the pregnant drops bounce off the street only to fall back to the ground and – for the big ones there might be one more bounce. The sweat is burning my eyes – even mingled with the rain. The thunder sounds like a primeval shotgun blast into the heart of the sleeping city.

I was really worried that the kids might forget this moment – this slice of glory that will carry them through all of the bullshit that life will force down their throats. I walked with you across that parking lot and you laughed at the cherry moon. I wasn’t smart enough to remember all the things that were swirling around us. The kids scuffled along like bright sweet candy wrappers blowing across the empty parking lot. They buzzed with the excitement of what they had accomplished. I buzzed with you and the cherry moon.

I tried to explain to an old friend that you don’t always get what you deserve and you don’t always deserve what you get. This isn’t fair – but she and I are old enough to remember when things where fair – and we agree they aren’t anymore. As the rain began to fall hesitantly from the sky, I felt like a tired cliché about my tears – my sweat. There are times and ideas that are unspoken – but sometimes we try to force ourselves. I miss everyone who has ever loved me. Where are they tonight? Not under the cherry moon.

Friday, August 19, 2005