1996

by wechslerh66

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

we were buried in snow,
poetically,
one weekend

a poem a week
a word an hour

when you’re 23
& hungry
& the rest of the world is a motel
with weekly rates
& cheap excitement

& the Tragically Hip sang “words cannot touch beauty”

& Kathy Change wrote “break out of the ranks of evil, do a dance for freedom”

& burned to death
in West Philadelphia

burned the way the Ozone Disco Club
burned in Quezon seven months before

the way MOVE burned on Osage Avenue
eleven years before

the way Watts burned
& Detroit burned
& Miami burned
ten thousand years before

& Liz Phair sang “I’m like a wild flame that catches on whatever’s near”

& Kathy Change wrote “call me a flaming radical burning for attention”

& burned to death
in West Philadelphia

where IF MUMIA BURNS,
PHILLY BURNS
was written on a wall on 40th Street
two years before

& WHO HAD SIX ACES,
BID SEVEN ACES, & LOST?
JIMMY!!!
and WHAT IF TODD WAS ONE OF US
were written on the wall at Frank Clement’s,
an even dirtier bar than
Dirty Frank’s on 13th Street,
where I would one day
order meatballs on New Year’s Eve

in the old, weird Philadelphia
a Philadelphia of ill repute

we heard Bob Mould at the Troc
Warren Zevon at the TLA on Valentine’s Day
before it became the Fillmore
poetry at the Quarry
where someone once referred to Los Angeles as “Omaha with a beach”
& in the Penn Review
where someone once wrote a poem called “Sometimes Death Wears a Party Hat”

I wrote a poem called “A Bomb Is A Metaphor That Won’t”
& one called “Satan” with the word “detritus”

the monkey house at the Philadelphia Zoo burned down on Christmas Eve
the year before
& I wrote a poem called “Do You Want To Burn the Monkey House Down”

& someone told me an ex broke up with me because
“he’s too hyper and he talks too much about Kafka”

& the Trappist monks of Tibhirine were executed
& the Tamil Tigers won Mullaitivu

& Bob Mould sang “now the myth disintegrates, nothing else is permanent”

& Kathy Change wrote “I’m terrified of entering those eerie shadows”

& burned to death
in West Philadelphia

& became a poem
& became a name
& became a number

one more John Africa
one more Holly Maddux
one more Moez Alimohamed

one more number
one more name

one more moth
one more flame

I would walk past
& never know

I went home with you
one weekend
before the snow fell
before winter came
& buried us

poetically, when you’re 23
& the rest of the world is a moment
we can never outrun

& Warren Defever sang “this world is not my home, I’m just passing through”

& Kathy Change wrote “I have crashed this party, I don’t belong here”

I went home with you
one weekend
& never went back

Photo: “Trouble at the Henhouse,” Avery Crounse.

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