Saturday, September 24, 2011

Family Tradition (fragment)

We are a people;
who stare out into middle distance.

My father would stand in the kitchen of my grandfather's apartment
smoking under the humming exhaust fan
staring into some undiscovered country
in the cabinet where the old man kept his cheerios.

As for me, I remember places I have lived
by the things I stared out at during long sleepless nights.

In Ohio, it was a tiny shoddy house,
a sort of standalone tenement apartment,
placed inexplicably in the parking lot of the cement factory
opposite me. The lights there came on at ten,
burned all night, an old Chrysler was parked outside.

In Atlanta, it was the rain,
and the monster subtropical trees the rain summoned up from the earth.
I would sip beer under the yellow security light of the apartment complex;
watch the orb spider string anchor lines across the branches
listen to the freight trains coast by in the dark
engines off, wheels screeching and links chiming.

Here in Dallas, it is the clear Texas sky, the purple and red of the vast sunset.
Sitting in the dark, the constant air traffic into DFW reminds me,
of our opulent oil driven moment, the continuing clatter of global capitalism,
just as buzzing prop planes lining up for approach
at the little private field two miles north, remind me of its romance.

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