Monday, October 30, 2017

Pants in the Pines, Part 1

The woman who said she was my mother
took me down to Macy’s 
the goddamn White Sale, of all things 
went almost all the way inside 
the fitting room with me, where she had one,
then she bought me yellow On sale! polyester slacks. 

Naturally I didn’t like it, she said:
Simmer down!
I kept talking anyway, drowning out
her sad sad sad sad silence staring ahead at 
her sad sad sad sad past.

But I had my hidden Red Corduroys.
That’s right, red corduroys! 

Up on the roof of the Holiday Inn  
up the street from our apartments
in a trash bag, tucked behind humming metal boxes,
some sort of heating & cooling equipment.

“Mom” ironed and laid out the polyester pants 
then, being a little laid-out herself,
she laid out and went to sleep. 

I snuck out of the apartment in moonlight,
climbed up the decorative white cinder block wall
of the Holiday Inn; climbed around the green-glowing
Holiday Inn sign, feet and hands in the honeycomb
design, got the hidden pants, climbed back down,
back home, back in my bedroom;
my cell down the hall from her sherry-flavored
and then, 
starting to snow ... 

I opened the bedroom window, took aim,
threw my pants into the pine tree outside. 
They landed in the top branch, hung there 
a second, slid off, down down down
to the ground, up against the trunk. 
I waved at my pants: see you in the morning. 

Awake at 6 a.m.; the Today Show coming through
the cardboard doll house walls; breakfast 
with Mrs. Mother (I think that was her name), we shared
blue-yolk eggs and lard-oozy bacon; out the door and down
under the pine tree; 30 degrees, early blue morning light. 

Yellow polyester off, static popping on my teen-boy thighs 
blue in the cold, school bus headlights flashing me, BUT! 

Then, the RED Corduroys. 

Wide wale wild and on the way to school! 

Where I got beat up and flunked anyway
but this was just the beginning.  
Later, I’d learn a lot, drink a lot,
sober up, look back clearly.

But back then, that morning
and a few more years of them,
with the help of the pines
these pants—these red corduroys  
would walk me away.

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