keep it low

sometimes your mind wanders back over the streets
where you drove like a dervish in circles through two seasons of lovely
and four seasons of mindfuck
today you soar through the skies
sea to shining sea
ten below zero
girls on the run
girls on the phone
children in bunkers
seventy cents to the dollar and you still can’t shake it
you’re a ghost gliding over sidewalks
cracked like lips like chimney bricks crumbling inward
like every mother’s back who has an agenda for her child
up the hill you go then south three blocks
round the corner from the park where she wasted all that money
on gingerale and lottery tickets

Oh I’ll be your muse honey but only if you melt the muscled wall
of my back under your hands
love my disappearances as much as my petite pixie cute crescents
did I ever tell you about that one time
sitting in the driver’s seat in the parking lot of Girlington Garage
around eleven in the morning
on a Sunday
when what had begun as a religious experience had led
inevitably to my wit’s end practically ready to hang myself if only the phone
had a wire and instead thank god for her who said
say it again but without the drama
bring it down girl
keep it low
and I did
calmly this time
without the escalating
just like beth housekeeper the nurse told me
ten years ago when I was six centimeters and counting
ice chips
parking lot
you are not
no, I am not
who you thought

so walk walk away from this cliché
these punk rocker country love song blues
not a victim not a villain neither selfish nor clueless
but following
footsteps embedded invisibly
in the mind’s eye somehow always seeing or some say it’s the heart
either way all roads lead home
and home was copper, home was blonde, home was curly, home was safe
home was the receiving end the receiving line the long exhale
of no deadlines to meet or fear of retaliation
home was relaxing and letting easy come and easy stay
flip a bitch when you’re headed for the inertia of insanity
of is it the insanity of inertia
that same brick wall you heard the lyrics to and fought
to unhook from the smooth the seductive the fantasy of skin
of some stories that can be imagined but never lived

because here’s the thing
real life never fits the bill the narrative the script
no matter how much it feels like a film unfolding
a child watching from a sky perch
a woman flying towards the sea
seat 16b heart yawning open
remembering the usefulness
and the futility of fear
and how you can tease out the difference
by keeping it low
listening for the lies
disguised as safer than the truth
when the fact is you knew all along
you’d find your tangled hands in her hair singing
home is wherever I’m with you

Image: Lisa Brockman Photography

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