I recently saw a photo of a house I lived in long ago that had been greatly gentrified. I got to thinking about my own personal gentrification. I hardly recognized the house, just as I hardly recognize the young woman I was who lived there once, but here's to resurrecting places and pieces of a self and trying to get it down. (Couldn't quite make my 3-line- stanza format correctly on this blog, but you get the jist.)
My Half-Way House
Wasn’t the Graves Avenue place, on the other side of the tracks,
round the corner from Burt’s second-hand store where the guy gave
discounts then undercut his own bottom line to keep you coming back.
There, on Graves, with 90 bucks after the security deposit and 1st month's
rent paid, I was. Landed with a thump and the slow leaky lump
of my heart big enough to stain the walls and hardwood red.
The part of me dying went to live on Graves.
It wasn’t that other house in the country, Tiny, White,
Yankee-Prim place-holder house I rarely slept nights alone.
But between those two, on State Street, near the old fruit market
We came and went in a shingled green flop house:
The clown I slept with, the blind hippie, his
Flat-bellied, wild-haired Cuban princess and their pet
Ferret, whose name I forget, but not her scent.
The whole house smelled of musk, sex, bong water and sandalwood.
In those younger, in-between-things- days, I sought
A house of forgetting, wood-screened door to slam closed
what had opened, Big Love, Big City Loss
I sought to cauterize my wounds
With instruments that played lullabies
in the underwater light of dreams.
Not on Graves, or in the country near Amherst ,
but the half-way house on State
was a good spot to die awhile.
Most places like this are for getting it together.
Mine was for falling apart, which I did
Until lack of breath brought me up for air.
State street for the state of me then
Part Emily Dickenson, part Diane Arbus,
The green house healed me in the end.
--BLR for the Poplar Grove Muse