We Missed the #68 to Orchard Beach and Went Home Instead (July, 1969)
Dusty tunnels in the afternoon a kaleidoscope of dust - you can squint your eyes to see the particles streaming through the Venetian Blinds like a magic trick. If you hold a pipe cleaner up to the window and wave it like a sword you can cartoon yourself back into your sandals; escape the odd feeling of a bathing suit under your jeans. The cats under the couch looking for the lost Spalding balls - someone's mother calling from the window screaming Spanish accents into the dirty Bronx air. It's all you could do to get away from the sun the sun - streaky down on your neck little pools of streaky sun. Packed deep into ice - lost sandwiches kicked down the street like a failed math test. Ice cream money singing loose change songs in your sweaty pocket. You can hide under the cushions/ find pennies there. go outside go outside go outside. Her voice trails along the lines of the wall where we scraped our shoes kicking the boredom - the sadness. Everything is always the same here- everyone hates us. Blending into the wallpaper we creep along the ceiling - lost children right under her nose. why can't you go outside. We shuffle through the boxes under the bed - she hides things there in between the dead shoes single socks. Found a dollar folded like a swan. He punches me sometimes hard on the arm bam bam bam. Same spot all the time leaves a blue and green mark round like a puddle. Pulls my hair across the room until i land smack in the middle of his nightmare. go outside go outside go outside. Motown music walks a tightrope from the electric chord on the kitchen table its copper penny brother steadying its arm scratching out the angry move your hips music. We all know i got no rhythm. Soap bubbles tossed in the bathroom buckets of water like a beach. Make a beach from blankets spread across the flat blue carpet in the bedroom. Pails and shovels and shells made from broken dolls without eyes. No waves/ ocean sounds. But it's a beach for today. There's all this sand.
Saturday in the Park
If you learn to fly a kite I guess it would be the windy side of the day that mattered. The butter on toast with just the hint of something else. You would have to check the sky for leftover rain -night shadows hiding restless messages - faces of midnight moons hiding behind the stars. You would be held to higher standards once it lifted into the air - while it floated people would be close to you wearing you like a scarf. Eyes following it down the nothing of air - like a million lost roads. All you know stops making sense with the striped buckets of color and light; it would dip - curl high above the sullen pockets of land - then test the ground and run its finger through its hair. It would be fierce then frightened. Solid and uncertain. You can't lie to a kite. It knows you in the flick of your wrist - senses you like a cloud. Kites hear the light gasps of air as you watch it tease and twist - it acts casual with you but it's more bossy than the sun. He taught me once about kites in some beige,soft spot of sky. I ran along side that lonesome string tripping over sand and the sound of his voice.
Why Taking the #6 Train From the Bronx is So Awfully Difficult
You don't know how people live she told me. How they crawl across the floor on all fours how they scream in the night, spit glass through those sounds in your head. You don't know how hard it was to end up here on the edge of this cliff.
She's ranting on the #6 train in small puffs of black air. Sharing her small space of seat with a pregnant woman – shaking her fists at the holes in her sleeves. Those mittens will get caught like lies between your teeth. Eyes darting to her then me; a sliver of air fits between her coat and the long loose lines of my legs. Sharing thin strips of black hollow air/cloudy windows with names in markers Smeared across the glass. I drink my coffee - the swallowed up gathering of us in deep woolen coats and those blank, startled noises pushing us along slamming into stops and those lights from the tunnel.
Kindness is curious - it sits in jars. It mistakes itself for grace - slips through the bars of good will. Kindness sometimes lives on its own mountain - looks at itself in mirrors; it never judges itself -never gets full. Kindness races down the street with its mouth open - words of reassurance following like a shadow. It holds your thoughts like a place setting. Kindness is air-tight and rolls down stairs wrapped in the problems of everyone else; step after step pouting like a lemon. Kindness forces those seeds out - then lines them up at the edge of the sink. You can tell when kindness has swept over you - it leaves the hair curled on your shoulders and weeps the willow out of the branches. It closes in deep when your hand is empty. Kindness doesn't ring the bell it opens the bottom of the window and one foot at a time invades the air between the words. It's the high-top of your sneakers and the down-low of the secrets you keep hidden. If you sought out kindness on a deserted street corner it would be the last vacant glow from the passing cars - it would not spray rain in your face. Kindness holds its nicknames in folded squares of paper - it is the voice as you toss and turn - the sleep that finally takes your hand. Kindness is the best of that love you can only now remember.