Oh, Simple Moonlight…
Oh, simple moonlight. We sure did not get this right.
Beach, maybe, no waves. Brain frothy and so memory filled.
I get the chills of an adolescent with an obsession faced bedroom
whose got views. I do
remember this city when I was so filled with wonder. Willed hunger,
a time when I knew something about my condition,
and I crawled into it’s lap. I had the tit in my mouth
and I was not interested in the milk. I was never
so human as those hours when I was going in circles,
a dog realizing it has a tail for the first time. I could use
a nap just thinking about how bad I needed to lie down.
This city with race issues and gentrification and polluted rivers
that foresaw way back when that their banks would glisten with condos
the middle class could never afford, was broken, and a great unknown,
for a person who could at such a young age already smell himself disappearing.
There was always a hidden knife waiting around a corner.
There was always someone buying someone a drink to take them home.
There was always the rotten teeth of rivers, he never had to see his reflection in,
yet muddy and brown the river wore my eye color.
The marching bands, tailgate parties, the fraternities and sororities
was where everyone longed to be. I guess they never felt
the early sunrise reflecting off of the windows of the high rises
as you walk home passing the homeless begging outside Dunkin Donuts,
the stale smell of cheap beer spilt on a thrift store bought
tavern softball team T-shirt. The buses never on time,
filled with passengers ready to whisper awful things in your ears.
I would not let go of the loss of my breath. I had to hold it in.
It was the feeling the city exuded. A great exhale would one day come,
but when I fell in love with this place it was patrol cars and old parks,
with trails that led to crack or a blowjob from a plumber with a wedding ring.
It smelled of the vomit of loneliness and still in spring lilacs bloomed everywhere.
I had tucked many dreams into the earth,
and the crumbling concrete never made me miss them.
I don’t know if I was too simple to want to try to change the world
or if my world was changing too fast, I was too dizzy to notice it.
The world was maybe too hot to touch or too cold? Here,
it could have been either. I was the same. Like every house I lived in,
you were either stripping off clothes or sitting with your winter jacket
by your turned on oven trying to get warm. I was in a city
where plastic yard saints were popular, and I had the same hollow divinity.
I knew just like this city, it was a matter of time
before freeways occupied neighborhoods within my parameter.
Innocence is something, I think, sex dreams of having.
In that soft moonlight, I wish I could have just stopped.
In the broken concrete, by the murky river, where bodies still surfaced
now and then, just barely making it into the half hour newscast
filled with stories of poverty, violence, and shopping malls vacating downtowns
like leg warmers leaving the eighties.
That moonlight was like a movie projector in the dark theaters we go to,
to be projected an image of romance, to watch our characters change,
to live through the arc of a narrative. Oh moonlight,
we were too hurried. We somehow became the boy who applied at the theater
because he loved movies and became the boy who worked at the movies
because he wanted the girl who sold the refreshments to love and want him.
If we could have just stopped in the chipped concrete by the river,
where something obviously once stood, littered with wrappers and used rubbers,
and no answer to a past, we would have noticed
how the emptiness around us allowed the light to fill places it never could.
How it made that dirty river feel almost pretty.
It was before the river knew light would never hit it that way again.
There’s something magical in being exposed, even if it’s after a demolition.
Maybe we both knew condos would come in the future
and the moon would never be able to touch that river in the same exposed way,
but if we did it’s only because we were starting to imagine things differently.
Looking back, soft moonlight, I should have stopped
and felt how the moon touched the river,
At it’s most vulnerable, a time when it believed nothing
would ever line it’s banks again, open and non conforming,
the brightest that old river would ever shine.
Had I stopped just for a moment, I might have seen the only chance
I would ever have of seeing my reflection in that water.
Oh soft moonlight, we did screw up.
We were so caught up in the dream, we missed a once and a lifetime opportunity.
Now we can only imagine what the water felt for those years,
when vulnerability positioned the light just right
to allow something to be seen in a way it never will know again.