A swingset on Homestead Road
June 8, 2011, 10:38 PM.
Up and down, I listen to T.I. and look at the
fifteen stars that are visible like teeth I hope to still smile with when I'm old
and gray. In the bushes I hear footsteps. I jump, half-cocked, from my seat
burying my knees into sod and sand.
the skyline, the night, love, beauty,
these are not things that belong to me.
My frame is too monstrous to catch butterflies so I crush cocoons
and hold on to the technicolor wings
taking what I can get, I remember
people like me don't unfold, we burst.
I am not a star but the pile of dust it leaves when it implodes.
We are talking around the table about classes and theology
and the subject shifts to the subjects of my writing,
my love of superheroes and love stories without proper endings
I explain I write what I know.
The subject shifts to the reason why one of the guests
had been avoiding me for sixth months
and she explains she was just busy.
She was the fifth to say this;
I wonder which of my inadequacies did it this time.
The beatings I received at 6 years old
turn into a furrowed brow at 22.
The raised voices that played the violin strings of my childhood homes
turn to hushed tones on stage and in places where I can let go of my roar.
The jeers from when I was in grade school
are the weights that hunch my back quasimodo even now.
But that night, fifteen random stars smiled as my feet and the corners of my mouth
I wanted to hold each one,
feel its warmth before it supernovas into memories
like I know we are wont to do at the most selfish moment
and name them,
stick them into a bottle like water and play them with my fingertips.
23. The issue of X-men where Beast's mutations furthers and he turns blue.
119. the first time I said "I hate you."
840. The night my best friend told me I'd always just be second to her.
912. 5 shots of tequila and a broken jaw.
17. God just makes some people different.
263. When you can calculate prime numbers over 100 in your head you're a nerd.
777. The ugly boy you could never love but who always rang the bell on time.
323. My last fight 8 years ago.
324. Bloods broke into my house. There was gunfire and I couldn't walk anymore.
613. You want to know how I got these scars? I weighed my mistakes in an iron maiden.
540. On one knee, hands pop-locked into prayer position; the last time I say "I hate you."
400. I loved you enough to let you go.
13. I'm diabetic and starve myself.
04. The shattered violet lantern ring and the empty bottle of gin beside it.
1,209 is so distant I'm afraid I'm making up its name.
It sounds like Daddy, are you proud of me now?
Did you see how high I swung?
How dark it was?
I promise I wasn't afraid.