I Live On A Bench (I Used to Live In A Tree)
I hadn’t noticed my neighborhood until I walked it. I waited for the hottest days suited up sound in my ears bandana to protect a delicate pate. Good shoes. Hot hot. Sweat good.
Boom boom boom I am walking the route, the geography of my neighborhood clarifies as I walk. I’ve lived here for thirty years.
I live on a hill, thus a dry basement and other perquisites of elevation. I am closer to the heavens.
I live by a park. The park is in a valley adjacent to the hill on which I live. Boom boom boom I am walking the pathways of the park. The volleyball sand courts have been moved since I once did concerts under the shelter on the north end of the park.
I pass the education office center next to the high school where my kids went. The politics and geo-demographics clarify for me as I walk. A new plaza is in construction in front of the high school expressing a local large corporate presence in our little town. I am immediately suspicious of this.
Of all the consciousness raising installations between the education center and the high school my town elevates its corporate presence. What is that? I ask to no one in particular (I am alone).
It smells like sh** all around There is mulch or compost or black gold preparing the space adjacent to the corporate square. You can’t make this stuff up, one of my friends often says. The odor is so strong I can’t discern where it is coming from; it may be coming from the apartments across the street that are well groomed with mulch. I meditate on proximity: corporate sponsors, education, consciousness, sh** and continue walking.
I narrate in my head as I walk because that’s what I do. Someone may read it someday and ask me about publishing but it doesn’t happen that way. Though it did once.
The complexity of social organization clarifies for me as I cross over the trafficked street to a neighborhood of residential charm. There is a sculpture in metal of two poets, by a local favorite, I know his son full disclosure I love him and I stop and contemplate the sculpture for a moment.
Why two poets? I love the two poets because the truth is tossed between the two and the implied third synthesis: The listener, the reader, the audience, me. Two poets is right. With two poets you approach truth and the implied third is standing and listening and searching within and actively waiting for truth to rise. That’s what we need in front of the high school: two poets, a loop singing poetry as students enter and exit the school not a moment coming or going from learning that is not accompanied by poetry.
I make the turn and enter the ascent of the hill that leads back to my little town. Boom boom boom on my right another modest elegant house bull-dozed for modern construction, some sort of faux Roman column thing favored when the curbs change to granite.
The curbs change to granite once I enter my little town, except on one street where I notice the curbs preserve an egalitarian one-suits-all concept. The curbs are the same and only a sign indicates having left my little town and entered the town to the north. The curbs, by the way, were the subject of the one aldermanic meeting I attended years ago. Though they are elevated in my town, the granite curbs will destroy your tires.
Billy Bob Thornton is standing on the street corner waiting for the light to change as I return to my neighborhood.
Boom boom boom I pause as I assume my customary seat at my beloved bench where I sit and write. In front of me: the jail house where I spend a part of every week.
It is a thousand miles away from where I sit.
I Live On A Bench