it’s eighty-one degrees on a thursday night in july and i’m high on the roof of my building. i mean that i’m on the roof of my building and i’m high, not the other thing--it's only four stories. the breeze is calm and constant and it wipes the sides of my legs with careful hands. i guess the walls on the roof keep the breeze below my waist, the only place i can feel it, but i don’t think about that too much. i think about dying. i think about it too much, maybe. i don’t mean that i think about cutting or jumping or hanging or shooting or swallowing. i mean the other thing, the stopping of the heart, the closing of the eyes from behind the eyelids, the black, the nothing, the who knows. i mean the other thing, the no more demagogues, the no more exploitation, the maybe i come back as a friendly patch of moss.
i’m not thinking about sitting, sitting on this bench in washington square park. i’m not thinking about standing up and leaving. i’m not thinking about. i’m not thinking. three hours pass. later, at a different park, a squirrel comes within a few inches of me and settles there. this feels important.
the fireworks came from the other side last year, or at least that’s how i remember it. but now the tree branches are pretty much right in our way. i don’t mind that i picked this spot, and neither do you. that feels like acceptance and not veiled rebuke, that feels like this is fine, not the other thing, the this is fine. i like the ones that crackle on their way down. you like the ones that sizzle on their way up. i’m a little kid. you’re a little kid.
eeffoc kniht bounces back at me off the bus windows, neon letters that warp and wave and shimmer and dim, remind me of that night exactly five years ago, remind me that i forgot it’s been exactly five years. rain spatter gales off the green overhang marked 115, attacks the girl walking by, doesn’t say sorry, attacks the next girl walking by. the man closest to the window works on a sketch and pauses occasionally to make faces while he contemplates the next line, looks blankly at the space in front of him, vision that never leaves his eyes. i am immediately certain that i make the same faces, stare the same blankness when i look up from my writing, not just now but always. two japanese boys are smoking in front of the door. one of them wedges his cigarette expertly between his molars while he talks, it angles up, angles down on the invisible fulcrum in rigid deliberate strokes. his cheeks suck in so much when he drags that i’m certain they are touching in the space over his tongue. sandals in the rain. yikes.
it's so gold, can you see it?
it's burning there,
it's so bright,