from Apartment

Square blur of light on concrete behind an Army Reserve
billboard. A teenage boy wearing a BURGER KING paper
crown. The blurred sounds of a language unknown to the
hearer. To die from the guts out, to say the word guts,
to sit in a bar like Falstaff (the sun a laughing woman in
flame-colored taffeta). What happens to the athlete whose
body suddenly won’t do it? What happens to the sparrow
falling? And a guy who can’t stop losing his money betting
on hoops will never be Michael Jordan, never even be an
angry young working-class rocker playing a local hole
Tuesdays: what does he see when he sees greatness at a
card show? Why did Frank Sinatra act like a gangster?
Bullying meant class to him? Day before the first day of
spring: sunlight crosses a wood house painted mustard,
cold rising behind people’s backs. Twilight will come as
wet cold
that lines bursts of wind like an aftertaste: five of
four. Take notes on everything, that’s one option. A chest
of drawers, unvarnished, unpainted, means one thing to a
college sophomore, another to a sixty-year-old “loner”;
first apartment, meet last apartment.

:: Joseph Lease, Human Rights (1998)

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