Do you understand your sadness?
Last night I took a photograph of a tree
and a bicycle leaning on a kick stand.
This tree I passed every night without interest
until the potential of slick rubber tires,
the sparkling handlebars that I gripped
as my imagination peddled off into pure night,
where what exists around the corner is left
out of the lens. We see what we want to see
and when we are able to ignore the rest
there is fire in our eye and strength in our teeth.
Our legs peddling as fast as childhood
chased by dogs, as we lean into a corner
and break for the freedom of streetlights
as far as the eye can see. Do you understand
your sadness? The word cul-de-sac
always meant friendship to me.
Now it lingers like a maze of dead ends
that carry on through labyrinths of suburban fear.
An end to street hockey and children
out after the streetlights flicker on.
We dreamt of bloodied hammers,
a bad man and a rusty van hunched down
in the parking lot of Safeway. Now we say
it was just a matter of time before the seasons
turned and the road kill mentality grew
sick of shooting birds. Do you understand your sadness?
The trees cut down. The stucco homes demolished
and the ditches filled in to begin the good life,
television's tectonics reducing our needs
to pixilated rubble and manicured lawn. The forest path
and fort-filled fields now gone. The ditches
we jumped for fun. Do you
understand your sadness? Do you understand
streetlights, ditches, cul-de-sacs and trees?
Bad men, bloodied hammers and endless streets?
Cars passing as you wave goodbye to childhood?
Your bicycle, legs pumping and the desire to fly?
Brad Cran jumped up, fell down, weighed in.
From The Good Life to be published this spring by Nightwood Editions.