Jordan slouched beside me, kicking rocks,
and I could hear the grass crunching beneath his feet,
and the pavement crumbling like the decrepit generations that preceded us,
beneath the rhythmic static jumble of the ear buds that hung around my neck like a hug.
Our silhouettes, so much bigger than us danced in exaggerated wobbles,
and they merged momentarily beneath each streetlight,
clear and stark like the truth, like the future.
We walked aimlessly because we were aimless.
And it wasn’t that we couldn’t shirk that beaten-down old rusty Tiffin feeling,
but that we forgot it could go away, that we could be clean again,
and that, like showering daily, it wasn’t really even a hard thing to do.
So when I crawled out of there, all shaken and childlike,
and the world finally opened up to me like an origami swan, all it’s creases and tricks revealed,
like the exploded view of a suburban home, with its beams standing naked and silly,
I wanted it for myself- battered and stolen and greedy in my pocket.
So I tried to leave him and all the monotony, the vulnerability.
I tried to leave it all out there, on the Hedges Park stage
where we laid on our backs all spread out like saturated sponges,
and felt the expanse like our own pulses with each pass of the cop cars,
when all those galaxies reflected back our helplessness
in the reassurance that darkness was as inescapable as light.
I tried to forget those milky clouds of faraway planets,
like piles of dust under a black light,
that would disappear when the black turned to grey,
somber as a spreading pandemic across the early morning sky.
Our eyes exhausted, skin damp, we’d walk back to sleep.
But how could I forget how I’d tossed and turned in the sour scent of his brother’s bed,
sweating profusely as the rest of the world woke up,
and the daytime knocked on his window with its long arms of light
flecked with dust like yellow stars?
How can I miss it when he calls from his downtown apartment,
all robotic and somber, croaking when I ask if I’d woken him,
that he was just a little tired from the evening shift?
I can almost hear that potential buzzing around in his stomach.
Like last night’s alcohol, this morning’s vomit,
I know as well as him that potential gets impatient and inhospitable
and dry heaves are enough to make anyone stay home from work.