When the City was Ours

We come in on either the beginning or the end of Damen. You: The end. Me: The beginning. Down a block is the Mountain of Fire and Miracles across from the Indian place. Neon JESUS shines onto chicken biryani when we pass.

How about we speak of the sounds?

Reggaeton provides the beat for a cellular scuffle and how many cars there are and the cars all drive. The bags swish at my side and the boxes make box sounds on your head as you balance them like a tribeswoman. I say I can take a box and you say Don’t understand, carry forth, and you actually say carry forth. The kids are melting into orderly lines in front of us and they step to locomote to homeostate to pass on their genes. We are here because of our love and the varied tones as it passes our ears. It can be silence or it can be thunder. You: Silence. Me: Thunder. I keep tapping your leg with a bag and you say Unobtainable and when you say it it’s a stranger’s voice and the kids are segueing into the sky in front of us. I ask you if you’re feeling okay and you intone Save. I put the bags down and I collect the daisies from an unknowing lawn and you sidearm them up over and onto the collapsed boxes that are your collapsed boxes.

There’s a scab on the sun as it sets and the moon’s picking at it.

You turn so you want to scream and you try but nothing comes out after all. I say we can pick up people who wait for public transit and stack them on your boxes. You say Keeping out the light. The kids who are transitioning are sixteen or seventeen or eighteen but no older. They say words to each other like licking ice cream feels and the moon is their moon and the street is their street and the city is their city just as these things once belonged to us. Now my legs are tired and your legs are not tired. You can continue to step to locomote to homeostate to pass on your genes. Your genes can mix with my genes or not my genes.

How about we speak of the sights?

I spy with my little eye you on the street that is a sea with a raft of your choosing and the planks underneath are swollen from the water, where I grab them, underneath, under the water. I say What do you remember lately and you say Nothing’s seen the same. Inside in our place there is a bag where the cat shit goes, but not our shit. Our shit goes down a pipe. The children with various ages and forms are being dabbed into the sky’s canvas, swirled into impressionistic whorls.

Here we are on Damen.

Elements were taken from the earth and heated and shaped and cooled to provide an escape from fire if fire ever comes. You drop the boxes and you climb to the top and you say Nothing and it’s the word, not like nothing nothing because even nothing’s something and I drop the bags by the boxes where your things will be contained and I climb and I sit, where you are, inhabiting space. The aged children collapse into starlight. When I touch your back I know you. When I kiss you I know you. When I do these things you can either understand or not understand.

You: Understand.

I: Understand.

We melt into Damen’s beginning like we did when the city was ours. We go back home.

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