—Kim Clyde, Sacramento
Waiting for “him,” it was Hallowe’en and twilight
And I wore a harlot-red satin strapless cocktail dress that
My grown-up sister Jackie had made
With her own two hands.
I imagined myself a princess as I stood there
In the picture window of the ranch-style living room
And watched the Trick-or-Treaters tearing
Up and down the street, the third sister in the front yard
Handing out candy from a cauldron
Boiling with dry ice while I watched,
Recalled from the fray because I was too young
To stay out so late.
In all that finery with forehead pressed
Against that window, I stood, alone
Surveying the knots of children
As they ebbed and flowed
Tides of sugar gliders squealing and laughing
Trailing the draperies of their home-made costumes
Pirate. Hobo. Ballerina. Ghost.
No store-bought superheroes then.
I remember wishing for the carriage to arrive,
White horses, footmen and all, to carry me away
To carry me to my own true love.
I remember feeling sad
At not being able to stay and join in,
Sad at the thought that “he” might be out there
Searching for ME.
And stayed, and stayed,
And never have we met.
The fairy tales have done their work.
I am still well brainwashed.
Light and shadow
Gambol across ceiling and walls
Driven by the unheard breath of
This summer morning.
Tonight it will be the moon
Whispering in my room, in my ear
Remembrances of childhood trips
In the bed of daddy’s truck
Lying amid the detritus of camp gear
Flying down the road under the trees
Light and shadow flickering red
Upon closed eyelids.
A night so hot
The only music worth hearing
Is cool, dissonant, New York jazz
The air so thick
You have to chew your way through it
Just to get down the sidewalk.
You want to lick the asphalt
To see if you can taste
The wind of fall or
The rain of winter.
You feel like a clay vessel
In a solar-hot kiln,
Like that last lonely note
Crowing from the bell
Of a dead man’s
As I walk in and later
Sit by me.
I say “I can’t get your
Ode to fast food
Out of my head.”
You smile again,
A sly secret smile and say
Insert foot!” comes to mind,
And I think how glad I am
I didn’t bring anything to read…
There’s no following the likes
State Fair, 2012
—Photo by Sandy Thomas, Sacramento
will be reading at Crossroads tomorrow,
Saturday, July 21. Check our blue b-board
at the right for details.]