I don't know what I am doing here. It feels right in some ways
but wrong in others. It feels like I'm an intruder on some days and
others, it feels like home. There are old graystones next to new
condos with cerulean metal balconies. The power and cable lines
crosshatch the air painted by the stucco walls. There is not much room
to breathe. The wind is automobile produced and carries the odor of
the road. Burnt rubber. Burnt fuel. Burnt air. It squeezes through the
fine mesh of my screens and fills my home with that sweet city aroma.
In between the new condos flashes the cars and trucks on the Kennedy.
Horns bounce through the alley and reverberate off my walls. The
screeching tires of a semi indicate brake lights. Indicate a reaction.
Indicate trouble. I wait for the crash. It doesn't come. I'm
disappointed. I listen again. I give up. I get back to work. A
catalytic converter needs to be replaced in the distance. Its sounds
of a machine gun that morphs into an anti-aircraft weapon as it nears.
The dog just covered his ears. If it hurts my ears, it must be nails
on a chalkboard to him. It goes as fast as it came.
The sky above the tallest building is always periwinkle gray naked
of clouds. The nude body lays very still above the puncturing
structure. Its gray haze makes a translucent layer over a layer of
flesh. The flesh over a layer of periwinkle. The periwinkle over
cellophane. Cellophane over salmon. It glows underneath but is opaque
from a distance. The sun makes its best effort during day hours to
break the layers. Its too thick. There is too much paint. Too dry. Too
old. Too accustomed. It lays still.
As it lays still above, all things are restless below. Nothing can
stand still. People can not stay still. It doesn't matter what time it
is, Ashland never sleeps. Its pavement is pounded by rubber around the
clock. Dripped on. Spit on. Spilled on. Set ablaze. Gouged. Pierced.
Scraped. Its abused all day every day. Its only one road. Where is
everyone going? Why so fast? Why so angrily? Why so decisively? Why?
Its embryonic layer is rebar and gravel. Concrete spread like
chocolate frosting on top and finished with a hot tar tar. It was
level at some point but the constant beatings have worn the road. The
frequent position of the cars impact the pavement and create hills and
valleys. The icing cracks, and holes make airways for the concrete
below. The salt and plow trucks of winter's past chew up any lose
material and open canyons through the surface. The sewer caps rise
from ground making drainage impossible. The fix is not near. The
manicure is long overdue and possibly never happening. Maybe if
Daley's car got a flat tire from the mortar holes in Ashland avenue,
it would get its tardy facelift. Most bus drivers do not even attempt
evasion of pot holes. They blast right into them. Bump right out. I
don't know how the tires put up with that shit. It seems as if the
drivers speed up when they see a crater. The bigger, the better. My
coffee is sure to spill out of the top and onto my hands. I only get
pot hole renegade drivers when I have a piping hot Dunkin Donuts
coffee. Not only will I not be able to read because my book is on the
slushy floor, my hand is now scalded.
Sometimes I feel the alien. Sometimes I feel home.