portland

i’ll remember all the bums. men cursed by half-memories of love. of a decade without sex. who shake my hand with their injured hands in the park, painful looking joints, scabs that won’t heal, joints swollen to stretching, and they flatter me with references to girls as though i will help them and confess a pain worse than theirs’.

who once owned construction firms, who must’ve cracked up or went for broke or fell into drugs or banged their head, or lied all along. they stand along the river and i wonder what they see.

i’ll remember all the promise. fashion. of individuality, precise revolution, exquisite rebellion, of the autumn, the forest, a bed of bright sex in clean fallen leaves and paisley. the eyes that avoid mine. that rove, alight, someplace to go, that soar or pinpoint, efficient along the brilliant ways. to studios or theaters or wide white desks where an idea can stand on its own and i imagine everything might well come together. come together in the famous secret that propels these crowds of the beautiful, the exceptions, decoding their tattooed forearms, sweeping their hair the way it is swept, guiding their gasping pupils forward and letting them find their love.

that drives them to rush, look through windows, or directly into the glass, to clutch paper to their coats of buttons. that sculpts their features and smooths their eyes and defines their necks their how-to kiss necks. their jeans tight like nudes. everyone here is famous for feeling. everyone here could be the first.

when my time is up i emerge from a room that’s not mine. i walk down the boulevard of sculpture. i walk in the black storm of poetry where no one else walks, clouds churning. i walk through a book of photographs. i walk past a house of breakfast epic, a house of eye contact heirlooms, a house of holding hands, of oak chairs, a womb with a view, one of forethought and synthesis. one and others i won’t see again. those i don’t notice in the first place.

i fall into a crowd who boards my bus. i join traffic. the window view has been blocked by a ghastly mask. i join a greater crowd at the airport. i join a more intimate crowd that is boarding my plane. i take off and fly. no one has asked for my reason. they have each stepped a side, and ushered the way, as if they joined me long ago in my decision. as if there are plenty of reasons already.

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