Frankie has bad dreams
of dark things that have no edges
like blackened shower nozzles
of mold and mildew;
a closet in an empty house
where someone sways;
tall windows with peeling paint
the color of old teeth,
chewing on memories
of a fury sunrise.
She wonders why
these things haunt her,
as she trembles in the
rings of my eyes.
Maybe she’s a
the kind that lurk behind
closed doors in rooms
made by men in a hurry.
Perhaps Frankie sees mine,
and takes them away.
Beneath the ocean
she becomes a whale,
and carries my nightmares
to waters at the edge
of the Earth,
where no boats are allowed,
and whales rarely swim.
This city’s madness,
a tapestry of too much of it all.
There’s always someone or something
that drives a steak into my personal space:
an angry man in a black car honking;
a family walking four abreast on the sidewalk, slowly;
my neighbor vacuuming the concrete on her patio;
the lot across from me a construction zone of cats, gravel and a “dust control” truck.
Cement and traffic.
People and skyscrapers.
I just want to get away from it.
And yet I have lived in the country
Where the absence of annoyance
is a peaceable kingdom
that can be dulling,
like a drill to my temple,
until I’m lobotomized and desensitized.
Because it’s easier to be average
than to step outside.
So never mind,
this wayward thought
of leaving my jungle behind.
I think I’ll stay.
But if I left where should I go?
To the lands south of here, perhaps.
The broad avenues and cobblestone quarters of Buenos Aires,
where I’d amble among the vendors offering silver jewelry and cups of perfumed wine.
Or maybe to the ocean,
where I’d stand at the edge of a Caribbean beach washing my toes, the sun heavy on my shoulders.
My little dogs would wrestle nearby,
their fur faded and salty, littered with sand.
Scratching, always itchy.
But would I be satisfied?
I don’t know,
for I’m not sure what I’m looking for,
aside from these abstract concepts of happiness, knowledge, acceptance
I have thought of evaporating,
to escape the disappointment
of these things I don’t have,
or that I’ve lost.
I seek an authentic life,
in its most abstract sense,
like devouring an apple to its core and swallowing the seeds.
If I only eat the flesh,
I will only half know the apple.
Why eat around the hard and bitter parts?
The problem isn’t my city,
nor is another place the solution.
That’s the painful part,
which causes me to swell
And yet, I can’t help but wonder,
if starting over is such a terrible thing.
Perhaps it’s out there after all,
I can’t know the answer.
I can only hope.