Thursday, April 8, 2010

9/30

When I was thirteen we were parentless
and you were our general, by dint
of being oldest, by
the scar from a broken bottle
that crossed your chest
by the time you had already done.
There were never any adults
save the occasional ex-con
with pin joints, or pills
cases of old Milwaukee
Kessler whiskey, Marlboro reds
bonfires, Dramamine
shitty blue unicorn acid.
parties that ripped the doors off the house

How we climbed on rooftops
breaking into the abandoned movie theatre
rooting through boxes of old bulbs and porno posters
behind the molding screen, looking for something worth stealing
how we crawled on our bellies through the air ducts
of it’s disused heating system, under the streets

Appetite for Destruction
The feral army of the street kids,
The homes of the homeless, Silverball Arcade
basements and empty houses
A tower of bottles
A silver airstream trailer on a gravel driveway
clearings in the woods, a wood-paneled downstairs apartment

I was lieutenant, skinny and with a wise-ass mouth
kept mostly unbloodied because of your
kickboxing, and your crazy grin
when shit started to go down

I remember

How you sat beside me
with that crazy grin the night I put a pistol to my head
and leaned your head against mine
and told me if I was going you were coming with me

How you stole that car, crossing state lines to see me
singing "midnight rambler" till they took you down in Terra Haute

How you cracked the window of the county jail
you’d drop string with the nailclippers attached
I’d clip a cellophane of joints, or cheap speed
you’d reel it in
How you kept ashes in a jar, and told them they were the spirit “OVOMBO”
Till they transferred you to the asylum


How you knotted those bedsheets together
climbed from the windows of the county
before they transferred you to the state pen
How you made the national news for it,
they could not believe you had done it

A general no more, our king in exile
and I was there
The night they took you back

We had a ride set to smuggle you out to the country
We were behind the middle school, drinking beer
the lights flashed
the cruisers swarmed, and I ran
through the woods, by the melon farm
jumped a stone bench into a leaf pile
that turned out to be a goldfish pond
and found myself, suddenly, unbelievably drowning
walked to the house that used to be mine
dripping wet with fish in my pockets
and you were gone

I did not hear from you again, until today
You call me brother, tell me you remember
you are happy, with your babies
your straight job
the home you finally found

A weight I did not know I carried
is lighter than it's been in years

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