Wednesday, May 1, 2013

"the poplars of california"

"the poplars of california"
written on a busy day by jake kilroy.

i stepped out to the back porch of vines and tiny lights,
away from the noise and the racket and the mystery,
to have a late-night conversation with myself.
"what good is all this?" i asked.
"who knows?" i answered.

that was the end of it, and before i had time
to drag my knuckles across the wooden fence,
i was gripped at the throat by american promise:
me, in a suit, wind in my hair, driving a cadillac,
woman at my side, picnic basket in the backseat,
down the scenic route through the poplars of california.

back at the patio, a guest in the waiting room of a party,
smoky words left my mouth as i considered my drink,
a sweet yellow concoction made by a pretty girl
with a taste for rum and men of a different class.
it breathed new life into me, and my pupils twitched,
but that was the end of it, here,
a place that smelled of jasmine
and reeked of book junkie spirit.

i caught myself sucking down moonlight next,
peppermint vapors from the heavenly wasteland
that went through my lungs like silk ropes,
tying my heart to my guts to my spine
to my brain that cut loose and cackled.

this was the barest of politics,
mangled in youth, tangled in sex,
wrangled by the hands of a working man.

instead, my tongue sped across the highway of my front teeth,
an inventory of ivory i'm thankful hasn't ever been purged
given my attempts at driving the first amendment into the ground.
what i'd give for another warm bed, i wagered in the soft glow
of a location i could sell to a hollywood scout for top dollar,
but that was where it ended, at the beginning, when i broke,
when i crashed, when i spiraled, when i got that wildest of ideas,
coughed, laughed, and headed back into the party for another.

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