choking on hello

June 5, 2008

Gasping at glimpses of gentle true spirit he runs
Wishing he could fly
Only to trip at the sound of goodbye

on the floor of my studio apartment, stretching after running,
I notice a name at the bottom of my old Crosby Stills and Nash
LP, which leans against a small table holding my record player.
Below the outdoor couch where the 3 musicians sit posing, at the
edge of the impoverished looking dirt yard, the name Sandy is
written in cursive, in faded red ink. Sandy: I remember this record
came from my father’s collection, this belonged
to my father’s first wife. I didn’t remember he had a first
wife, I didn’t remember her name. Sandy. He told me
she cheated on him with other men, he told me he didn’t much care, he sat reading his books, he sat listening to his records. In Anaheim,
California, come south alone, visiting my great aunt on the fourth of July,
sitting around the pool with family I’d never met before, all the old Italians said to me how’s your mother? she’s a nurse right? I had no idea who they meant, my mother is not a nurse. It’s just like yesterday,
picking out rocks from the garden and finally looking up
to see all the trees have been cut down and lie covering the yard, the garden
left unarmed in the sun. Sandy.

They are one person
They are two alone
They are three together
They are for each other

Stand by the stairway you’ll see something certain to tell you
Confusion has its cost
Love isn’t lying it’s loose in a lady who lingers
Saying she is lost
And choking on hello

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