Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"two holes in my lungs"

"two holes in my lungs"
written in a seattle library by jake kilroy.

dear god,
i've got holes in my lungs
and stars in my eyes.
there's a girl in this city for every line,
so my mouth wrecks dry until it's wetted.
but i wait for the breeze
that tastes like autumn leaves and dust
and then hail a cab before the rain
comes to wash this city's heart out time and time again.
the locals would bathe in the water
if it wasn't so filled with gasoline this weekend.
so some boats met up to talk shop,
and the shop was a liquor store apparently.
we drank with everything we had in us
and smelled sweat and motors
until we choked on the scent of regret.
speaking of which,
what feels like a lifetime ago,
i went to bed in a girl's lake house
where i barely slept for two days
because drugs nearly talked me into a heart attack.
this came in the sullen hours after we all sat on the dock
and lit wish lanterns over the lake,
which drifted into the forest,
and we thought we were going to burn down the island.
thankfully, this didn't happen.
but i couldn't get up because i was paralyzed with dreams
and heard a bayou song somewhere in my heart
and a doo-wop tune somewhere in my head,
and, as always, i didn't know what to listen to.
so i sat there and clicked my tongue,
flicking a cigarette
and whistling in the darkness,
barefoot and overwhelmed by the world.
this was a far cry from home,
but even a bedroom has its tears.
i remember one in particular.
oh, i told that story last night,
down at the neighborhood bar
between the coffee shop and the library,
before falling asleep on a wooden floor
too tired to even edit my own novel.
the fan near the window was a beautiful hum
and i was a man barely dressed
in a place unfamiliar,
but it reeked of promise as i stretched my sunburned back,
and i felt somebody close was destined for hope.
i didn't know if it was me that tasted like the future,
but i licked my lips and caught sight of one star
through two blinds and straight on 'til morning
that could've easily been the porch light
that belonged to the girl with the mustang outside
that lives in the back house with the planter box of golden leaves.

i hit the road tomorrow to tail the west coast's salty air
down to southern california and maybe even mexico
if that backseat driver god just lets me breathe right
to get out of this city and into my own skin again,
for one last time before my decent heart breaks
like a southern boy who's never seen the ocean.
but i've taken love for granted and i've spilled my guts to the night here
enough times that these lakeside bugs could write this poem for me
if i ever dipped them in ink instead of smoke and secrets for once.

but, one day, i'll be restless again,
and i'll have to weigh my heavy heart on some lone dock,
listening to the quiet waves of mercer shrug against the shore,
whistling my lips chapped and filling my lungs with dirty breaths,
only to consider this leafy town the greatest secret in america.

goodbye, seattle.

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