Little kids are playing soccer
The ones acting like I used to
Tangling themselves in goalie nets
The parents we never turned into never-minding.
A daddy plays his boombox
For the crowd
Empire of the Sun, remember them
His playlist blaring louder now
You know the one
Remember when we’d heard it
My first time was magic but for you a chore
Over at that spot we used to know
That Extra Fancy
The one where a lady-turned-mommy served us Gansetts
And the lighting looked good enough for oysters?
Do you remember Steve?
The guy from Full Circle
Cracked us tall boys of Genesee I think
Fixed us skee-ball that one time, then handed over tally chalk for scores?
I think saw him wearing Chinos
Outside of Artichoke
The one on North 7th
By the Dunkin’
By the train
And fussing with his iPad
Sweat-back looking grody
Did you know they’d one day grow into what we’re close to becoming?
I suppose I never thought ahead,
Too much looking down
My hand with yours
Or any time we walked along something new For me
Or that hallway towards Larry Lawrence
They closed it down
It’s gone for good.
There’s also people here
Who look like what we used to do
Doing things we used to be
Though now they’ve got their White Claws
And Triple-Lens phones
Lounging on our bench-shaped stones
And dreaming upon towers
We never knew or cared would one day exist for them to ponder on
This never was our spot, was it?
Wishing wells erode
And yet there
Some times at least,
Those Mesas on top of pillars
Floating glad-ware lids for canyons
Too large to fresh-seal shut for good.
These plateaus are carved around,
Speckled relics sometimes close
But often far in way
Lucky Dog and Allswell
They’re still there
The promenade at Brooklyn Heights
I suppose that one’s all me
The ones once ours
Were they really that
Or just new for me and still fun for you?
Did we fall upon a world of our own disgraces
Camel Blue kisses
Or without regard
A concoction of totems familiar enough for you to bleed freely? There remains however
Our temple of our Four Corners, though.
You remember it, don’t you
How could you forget
I won’t allow you to
Their Grand Ferry Park
Our Sapporo’s in paper bags
Hands held after
Even after fights
The one by you
Transplanted from the village
Oils for the hangover.
The smokestack there Still remains
The bench where words were said
You said something Like on your roof
I’ve never forgotten
PJ knew it too
I knew her after you but
‘You are this city to me.’
Two times you’d told me
The first a proclamation
The second a surrender to decision
To you leaving
We won’t go there yet
But the first my God
Muttered whisper ignites the waterworks
Lullaby under bridge’s rumble
Commotion of stampeding thunder
Soft rain in Spring
But Spring between Barrow and Morton only
I look up under bridges
Because on top is where you showed me where the river bent
You hold me
And the Hasids are watching
And the Freedom Tower’s going up
And the Empire’s not knowing what reigns will trump its spire.
The Domino sugar factory was still there, wasn’t it?
Remember the cranes?
Or Glasslands for rock?
And the rock
You’d think this space was separated with glass
Camel Blue’s from your pocket
Clouds of smoke…
Though with certainty we’d know
It’d all soon change.
We knew we’d leave.
The geotag was ours but so soon
These towers would be new again
And they are
Bleaching skyline and our promises
Into something out of Mars.
The playlist is still going.
Mommy’s thrown a football
To her little boy
‘Good one, Adam’
They’re playing sports now
The ones who’d grovel for a taco at our Union Pool
Perhaps they always did.
Grow, I mean
Grow into something they had to be, by choice or missed train
That shaped into them Gwenyth Paltrow yuppies with cleats and doggy-walking apps.
Perhaps I never noticed
As city people grow
And move and have
And watch and grow I held on expecting it to stay the same
For a dream of you and me
Perhaps Should LA ever burn
We’d have concretes where Blue Bottle used to be,
Remember when that was new?
How’re your wedding plans coming along?
Wishing wells erode over time and
Yet there still remains
Relics of the beaches for which we would lay for even dead Winter’s Sun.
People like rivers and water, I
That these canyons
Came with drains
So once all was dry I could climb down and spelunk
Maybe then I’d find
The reasons why you left me
After choosing me
Your place, apparently,
Searching the streets that led us through our high lives I haunt them now,
And these bars of cities we once knew,
As if for the first time, and always that
Whiskey’s tasting old.
Little kids are playing soccer