Saturday, September 6, 2014

Between Nostalgias

Between Nostalgias

Oh, metal, metal, do you really need metal
Yes, it’s still there, just a little more hidden
Like the people who make it,
invisible in other countries slave labor camps
But yes there can be enough of a future
For there to be a present.
The guy who runs the little shop
Selling $350 jeans (low-end)
and some that brag about being made in US prisons
is no joke, but he’s a nice guy
and little shops are one of your causes
and you know he’d prefer to sell cheaper
to regular folk if there were any left.

Oh money, money. It’s still there, not really hidden.
You could straddle rich and poor and navigate mood swings
Reverting to a dirty warehouse to save money
and convince yourself it could be a community
But so glad you had her clean apartment
In the neighborhood you could no longer afford access to
And that Ashbery line comes back,
“business was punk at the opera”
But the sun is slowly shining
And you’re passing for normal, trying on pants.
You can do this. Baby steps to Normandy,
I mean normalcy. But the cops
Shoot in the back of surrendering heads. “Despite”
Their training. “Oh, it’s just a coincidence,
A few bad apples” one says
While imported anarchists throw rocks
At a great black owned coffee shop with $5 tuna sandwiches
And a piano they sometimes let me play
But today it turns into conversation

“What kind of bread do you have?”
“Just wheat……the good kind.”
“Yeah, much better than white, just like Malcolm said.”
“Yeah, same with sugar….rice….and coffee…”
“….what’s supposed to wake you up….ends up putting you to sleep”
“that’s pre Mecca Malcolm X”
“Yeah, he was really growing before he died…”
“that’s why they killed him”…
“same with Martin Luther King….”
“Yeah, everything on the tuna?
“…what’s your name?”
“I’m Chris, are you here every day?”
“Until I start at Laney….”
“I teach at Laney….”
“I’d love to take your class….”
“I probably learn more from my students than they learn from me.”

We might love you enough to let you say the truth,
But we’ll edit it out coz we love what you say just after it better.
In the classroom, the spirit of the students
Is enough to check, to tell it slant, to quote Caliban
On the fine art of cursing. Love. This is. Love. A Job
I cheated on my girlfriend with. Staring in her eyes
Trying to shut my mind off from thinking about Gregory
Who had just been shot and was worried I’d flunk him.
But so was music. In love, to divide is not to take away
But it takes a fast bike, baby, to live a double life

I used to go up and down College a lot
Back when I had a life among the people of the light
And it wasn’t back in the days the busses were ten cents
Before inflation was just a sneaky way to give you a pay cut
By making you think you got a pay raise.
And I almost see a city again
From the point of view of a bike….          

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