"fourth of july"
written after a day of observing america and age by jake kilroy.
i shot into the fourth of july with a fresh bloody nose,
pulling muscles from my neck like this season's magic trick,
talking art with an illusionist i thought did impressionist work,
remembering a girl i caught wild in the city once,
years after i watched the san francisco skyline
sink into the road as i drove across the bridge
with hip-hop radio and two friends that barely spoke.
oh, to be young again, with pockets of drugs
and the will to live by keeping them down!
oh, to be young again, with time like a lucky coin
traveling the grooves of your newly minted knuckles!
but there, in the late summer afternoon of a backyard,
i felt my bones wear like the boardwalk of coney island,
and i read my daydream as a writer's block playbook,
diagnosing boredom with freedom, hope, and spirit.
so maybe it was the smoke in my nostrils and lungs
that made me set off the fireworks in my heart.
maybe it was the scrapbooks i can't believe exist
that made me wonder if she still had the photograph
of us happy, of us truly serenely gloriously awake,
after spending a morning in bed laughing our heads off.
and then before sunset crawled across my eyelids like a tired drunk,
i recalled the lingerie list of secrets and regrets as if it were scripture,
and i dried my nose and wet my eyes
and took a long look in the mirror,
trying to remember how many times
i thought it was all coming to an end,
only to surprise myself
by revealing how easy it is to create a memory.