Alarm Clocks

Different cities are like alarm clocks. They wake me up when I think of them, over and over, like cold water for my skin. I want to do something when I think of Nairobi, Allepo. My arms need movement when I think of San Paulo. There is a boqueria in the Ciutat Vielle of Barcelona that, every night at 4 am, makes a small piece of my shin go astray. I know nobody’s watching. I can’t bother to explain how one of my shoes ended up in the surf at Sitjes. How my bathing suit, I mean sunglasses, ended up at the bottom of Maclean Lake. I harbor thoughts like a fugitive; nickels, dimes hoarded towards the next step on a plane. It’s an addiction, I can show you the markings: long hair, bright eyes, unshaved legs. I went to the doctor and she told me to keep going, said the only way to outrun a cancer is to be faster than wind. When my father came home from the hospital with a three-month passport, we sent him to Marseilles and he came back cured. There is a little man who plays chess in a hut in Nicaragua. I can take you there. I can walk you to his door. He will play you for a dollar or a bottle of something. Bring the bottle, I assure you, he will share. There is a boy who lives in the mountains of British Columbia with a red, bleeding heart pinned to his chest. It is mine. I gave it to him. I hope that it protects him against the wind. I know about a mountain top in Oahu where the sunrise burns brighter than liquid, and people gather themselves from sleep to stand out and breathe in. You have to travel upwards to get there. You have to believe in the best of what’s open to you. I can tell you about a motel in Wyoming where the crickets are as large as pancakes and the people inside live like there’s no such thing as sin. I know a man in Northern Ontario who can sit still for hours, tend gardens; sun, rain, moon, movement of wind all defer to him. He knows about hearts and people, holds his hands careful and cupped in case anyone needs to climb in. I have an Aunt in County Mayo, Ireland who lives in a stone house, but has never touched a wall in her lifetime. The paper of her heart is printed with the word ‘generosity,’ over and over, like a newsroom full of love instead of hungry war. I know a man who lives in Old Montreal, and was married to an opera singer. She is gone now, and he has mourned her for fifty years or more. But when she sings, it’s as if he has never been away from her and there is no one and nothing that can convince him he was anywhere else before. I wear these thoughts, people, cities on my limbs, scratch them like they were fireworks going off, until my skin is a living walking casing of all I have learned. I am full to bursting, believe me. But there is a place on the back of my calf that has been waiting for you, that has been reserved. I want you to come back, and fill it in.

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4 responses to “Alarm Clocks

  1. You’re a new acquaintance to me, through a colleague who admires your poetry… gotta say that so do I, at first sight. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Thanks Cessie, that’s a great compliment. Please pass on thanks to your colleague, and thanks for the connection..I will check out your blog, too.

  3. beauty boz– made me think about all those seemingly inconsequential encounters that have ulitmately led me to this exact time and place and person that I am now.. And to have shared them with a Partner in Crime of such caliber as yourself…:)
    to the future!

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