“DEKALB”

Naked summers lying out
beside broken machines
breathing humid dusty air
over short blonde arm hairs.
And I would oil paint for hours
out of the day and run miles
down along the Kishwaukee.
The tiny town went away
those naked summers—
except the men
planting corn, planning
for a golden yellow Fall.
And I was left alone to do
all I thought I ought to do,
to make the most
of my fertile mind,
unplowed by responsibility.
I imagined art;
The long arm of a compass
directing me to a place
I am too lost to find again;
Though I did find it once,
at least!
In those naked summers
by the broken machines
in apartment B3,
stepping over the graves
of Lucinda and Glidden.
Running back with spit
swathing from my lips.
I had all I needed, then.
I had then what I want
today. A naked summer,
spent alone,
swimming in possibility;
A thunderstorm booming
somewhere
beyond the yellow leaves.
Not yet an adult.
Not yet a man.
Not yet ruined.
I will go there again.
This place in my mind.
Apartment B3.
Kishwaukee.
Swishing turpentine
and stealing
trashcan paint brushes
because I was too poor
and too young
and too ambitious.
Because I was.
Because I was,
I can be again.
I just need a day.
I just need a week.
I just need a naked summer
spent sweating by
this broken machine,
still cycling in my mind.

narrative poem written on 08-02-2011 by: on mattkane.com
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