Bobby Womack dreams of California and your heart breaks.
Your mother dances at the window, all soft sunshine gold, and it is the saddest thing.
I’m laying here
staring at the ceiling
feeling myself dying.
Chugging bottles of water like I could build an ocean in my gut
(or maybe a small pond— I’m not good at ambition)
Listening to Pharrell’s Happy
thinking about people saying they don’t get it—
a room without a roof.
And feeling sad, and feeling wrong
—thinking of grass on my legs, the itch
and what it means.
The yard has exploded into a blast of dandelion yellow
and great big tufts of fuzz that I love to kick
love to watch explode, love to watch the pieces float away.
Great thick patches of clover, and purple buds—
shouting that Spring is here,
which means bees. Lots of bees.
And I want to build a garden,
soaked up in the colors of the season.
Bright and vivid, soft and sweet
oranges, yellows, pinks, reds and purple
and so much fucking green.
You’re born on the South Side. It takes a long time before you learn where that’s at, a particular neighborhood in a particular town in a particular state. It’s always just been South Side.
“I’m from South Side, and you’re a fuckin’ South Sider too, and we fuckin’ stick to our goddamn fuckin’ own, y’hear me?”
Like you’re sitting at the drop off edge of the world and you can go no further down.
It doesn’t take a long time to find that there’s a lot further down to go.
And she wishes she had a camera
for those dead limbs dancing,
dead hands waving
in the Streetlamp city—
—bright red cherry tips
on dark gray morning clouds—
and the delicious weight,
the sweetest smell,
of a cold rain hanging.
it’s sitting in the cold wind,
the bright green and dandelion,
and realizing that you’ve done nothing.
it’s peering at the sunlight
through white blossom trees,
and realizing that you are nobody.
your mother has no substance
in which to be proud
of her eldest.
your palms are filled
with dreams, ambitions and plans—
and they are growing rotten.
There’s a fourth of July celebration
going off in her ribcage.
The bones swell in the summer heat.
A Sunday morning laziness
lives in her busted smile,
and she slides music from his throat
in the crumbled brick dust of someone else’s home.
There’s a rich golden glow
clogging up the air.
A fruit fly buzzing in her lungs
on the long road home.
Blood in her money,
salt under her nails
and the maggot squirm
beneath the kiss of gentle footsteps.
With a boiling midnight breath
sucking on her tongue,
coaxing up the bile of a long day done.