Daily Archives: May 6, 2015

Left And Left And Right (Family Home)

Originally posted 3/1/2010.

Left at the top of the stairs
and then another left
and then a right
takes me into the blue room
I lived in through junior and senior high,
the room I drywalled
and painted for myself
with my father’s help.

I chose the color
and the now-embarrassing
blue shag rug.
(Blue was my favorite color then.)

I laid the oak floors
that lie beneath the carpet — 
nailing through the tongues
of the narrow planks,
fitting the grooves to them,
beautiful unstained wood I covered
with blue shag carpet.

I chose these red and blue plaid curtains.
Dirty as hell, limp with fade and dust.
No one’s vacuumed since I left.
I just found a cannabis seed
in the rug under the side window
where I’d smoke late at night
from a homemade pipe
I made from an old steam radiator valve.

I had an FM radio then
that taught me how to hear 
Mickey and Sylvia played
after Rashaan Roland Kirk
and I tried to stop thinking the world 
was rigid and orderly.

One time I broke up with someone 
and dropped acid late that night
and stared at my squirming self
in the mirror for a long time.
Afterward I took a piece of paper
from a spiral bound notebook
and wrote a whole story 
that sounded pretty much

like this one.

If I lived here now
I’d tear up this rug.
If the oak still looked good
I’d sand and stain and polish it;
I’d change the curtains and
I’d certainly have to paint — 
not blue this time,

or at least a different blue.

When I was done I’d play
the modern, stale radio, 
smoke a big joint in plain view of the windows,
sit there and think about
Rashaan Roland Kirk
having the blues and one working arm and no sight.
Dig up a hazed memory of
“Rip, Rig, And Panic.” Then
I’d imagine him singing
“Love Will Make You Fail In School.”
That’s still true. It really will.
I can vouch for that
even if I can’t remember
more than that. Thank God

I’ll never have to do all that —
move back here
into this room
and cobble together
a new life
with the blue
and the dirt
and the leftovers. After all
you can’t go home again
when you never really left

and it never really felt like home to begin with.

How To Fly

She is
the leading edge and

he removes himself
from her wake

not from jealousy
or anger but to honor

how far ahead she is. She needs
no drag upon her and

it’s not important, he tells himself,
if I cannot move on alone.  

It’s not important that I am alone and behind her
as she moves on ahead and alone.

He says this out loud
without knowing he’s spoken.

Says it out loud,
a strong wind behind those words. 

Says out loud something
not easily pried from him;

feels lighter at once,
blown along, carried along, lifted.

Out on the leading edge,
she feels not the slightest

of any of this.  Unaffected,

with such turmoil – and
why should she be? She

already knows
how to fly.