Knee DeepDaddy reminds us knee deep
youre only allowed to go knee deep
as we load Mamas Buick with threadbare towels
and PB and Js wrapped in foil.
We agree hes crazy, of course,
but I'm me and I plan to obey.
Just cool enough, when we arrive, for fun.
Just warm enough to turn the endless strip of shining sand
to coals I sprint across to the beat of a drum
a mystical foreign sound like an infant memory
the epic song of a tangerine bum
in blue-jean cut-offs.
By the time I reach the shore
my feet are whining for cool clear water
and smooth sand floor away from rocks.
Further out I wade
to you, waste deep and laughing
and beckoning me.
I dont notice the tide's been rising
'til it touches my chin
covers your head in an instant and
you reappear and Ive just enough time
to shove you onto the sandbar and
all I know is a rushing burn in my nose
and a voice that's screams my name from every direction.
ChildhoodThe paint on the porch was never not peeling.
The cats were never full.
The grass was always brown.
The trash on the floor stood still.
We ate from the table once a year
(rice-a-roni and pumpkin pie)
with forks that didnt match,
on plates we never seemed to have to buy.
And those were the best years
when money meant candy,
free time meant playtime,
and playtime was made up of paper
and oldtimey things.
I couldnt yet hear the booze
in my fathers voice
or see it in his eyes.
I had no idea of my mothers impurity
and freely forgot her pain.
It was what I didnt have
and didnt know
that kept me happy.
It was childhood.
The World Through My EyelidsSimply airy April summer sun
coming through the curtain sheet n lain acrossky blue
Steaming watercolor washing over twinkling spots
(both flooding warmth and twinkling are essential parts of youth)
I layer myself, too, across the vastness of the mattress
and stare openshut
for daydreams' broad azure
then shut for bouncing goldenrod n' rouge
Jimmie's MarketDusty sodas,
cheap yet priced too high,
always bought anyway,
always individually sold
and never meant to be.
Jimmies wife lounging
behind glass and butchers paper
for none to see, because the sign
outside that says Fresh Meat
lies 10 blocks from a "Welcome: Population 201"
and 10 feet from the courthouse,
All that was fine with sisters
half-block down a three-block street.
For us it was timeless summer
And a popsicle was cheap.
BarefootWhen those small feet touch earth
blood turns hot
and skin turns cold
hot like the metal of swing set summers
cold like wind on bare legs
carrying you to base in the backyard at night.
When those small toes sift earth
they steep in life
thick, rich, and seeping through callous cracks,
scabs, and bites.
When those bare heels throw dirt
'til 9 at night, it numbs the skin
but you wont go back in 'til 10
'til you fall and scrape
your soft cold skin.
a full moon.
Dont forgetcome barefoot.