The trees have been my friends.
When oblivious businessmen
go to their upscale gyms and afterwards
clink their glasses of red wine
together over steak dinners
I will be able to say
I was nestled in a house of impoverished people
where I dreamed the ancient dreams
of the microcellular arrangements
from a very long time ago
and there beside it,
though not in sterile air conditioned
there, on the stagnant outskirts of an
industrially polluted city,
there the trees have still come to live
and the trees,
the trees still loved me,
the trees still loved them,
and the trees have been my friends.
Our apartment was rickety and impoverished,
almost like an old Michigan lake house
perched above a block in the City.
The glass in the windows had fallen downwards
over the years
to bend the view of the street below and the
twinkling lights of Manhattan in the distance.
The wood of the frames was rotten.
Below, they cooked greasy Thai noodles and
you could smell sweet curry and grilled eggs
in the afternoon when trying to nap between
orgasms on a Saturday.
Cars always stuttered and honked and
scented everything in charcoal.
Above, on a wooden plank floor painted with
lime latex paint was a cheap twin futon bed
where I had her every night to every morning
from the summer of 2004 to the spring of 2005.
The curves of her body filled my hands like
the moon in the night sky.
I breathed her fertile scent. It lived on my
lips and hands. I would go off to work a
mindless job, she still lived in my nose.
She helped me be mortal and still lives in
my dreams after all this is left for the dead,
the dead between the floors that scatter the
wasted hopes of a city in squalor, coughing on
the honesty of sunrises.
The place gets inside your head
Until you can see nowhere else
The familiarity of sunlight on walls
Or shadows from trees and acorns or seeds
on the ground
Can’t really be seen in any other place
in that manner
The place does not ask you to stay
But you grow afraid to walk away
So you settle
Because mid-life’s gravity is stronger
The freedom you once felt in a desert
in the West
But the place harbors your fears
from the rest of the world
And you smell the scents of its restaurants
New mirrors and carpets
Over and over
Over the years
Away from the land of the sun