14 May 2001

Summer Artifacts

Traversing the twilight summer streets, where
younger neighbors kneel on the canvas of concrete
creating galleries with pastel chalk, it’s a hop-
scotch sidewalk- we skipped over the cracks. With
wind and silk-screened skeletons on our backs as we
skated - sipping lemonade with the Bones Brigade -
turquoise Powell & Peralta skids and swerves bleached
curves on the freshly-laid blacktop. Rocking blood-
stains and Airwalks, or riding barefoot in hi-
tops, blasting Billingsgate from the boom box
(ironically, “I’m So Bored” was the cassette anthem
to the manicured lawn’s suburban backdrop).

Florescent lights illuminated bomb drops
when rain clouds hid the stars, while lightning bounced
against sides of a child’s capped glass jar,
bugs held captive by popsicle-sticky
fingers. Forgetting the feeling would linger longer
laying exhausted in the grass…
But even underneath the moon’s crescent,
my childhood lessened with each second’s pass.

And soon enough it was
nine years later, still equally naïve as I
was back then - but in a circle of new friends - spending
seemingly infinite currency of hourglass sands
staring at neon orange cherries billowing smoke trails.
Inhaled the rails, the train tracks, the barbed-
wire fence, the silver bubble-lettered fill-ins, the dense
wild style, tags in fat caps,
Krylon and Rust-Oleum, back-spinning on linoleum.
Breathed out all I was holding in- except for the stress -
pounding proudly against everything surrounding me.

An abstract heart pulsed paint, and on
eyelid walls hallucinated my name. The veins
of an urban sketchbook, laced pages of a
spiral-bound subway whose passengers never look.
But, as their light approached, we ducked,
our damp signatures dripping in gravity’s suck.
Locomotive brakes squealed and froze time the
moment I felt capable to control mine.

From behind the thick letters diamond-cut in the window gazed
curious eyes of a business man John Doe glazed
in the midst of his routine commute from sky-
scrapers to picket fences. Secretly pensive,
but thoughts fallen mute in the ambient
headphone spills of cymbals and drum fills while his
passion stagnates on documents safe
inside a leather attache. And in weeds I lay
camoflauged but paranoid
(not of getting caught, but of getting older when
thoughts employed make it impossible to understand the
sidewalk drawings of a boy).

His train pulled away,
and the moon, now full, remembered me, the child
etched in glowing valleys of its memory. Tasted
beautiful breeze exhaled by galaxies and un-
screwed lids of jar-jailed bumblebees…

We need summer artifacts like these.