Floridamyth of my Friends Who Shade Gravity Black

“Your friends are not dead, but gone before,

     Advanced a stage or two upon that road…” Aristophanes

I.

Of my friends, I cannot say much, save for the fact

every-single-one-of-them tweaks for bleach.

They seem to live for the bull, but I twitch

on a dime when I have to split-rent with liars

who can’t fit a saddle or haul their own

crabpot—who ate all my apples?

    Warm days I’d dream my face

cool against a schooldesk—see the fires lit

beneath stilted porches, appaloosa horses

running to the center of a green field. Garnet

fireworks shocking shadows off oak moss

as slash pines on Landis Green turned October

-orange—I definitely heard the deafening

banshee shouts from eighty-thousand throats.

Lauren Hindman threw a cop’s helmet

on her strawberry dirty-mop while a bicycle-parade

wheeled Tallahassee’s Timucua and Seminole roots

to red dust in a spangled-montage of bloody-stars.

 

II.

Of my friends I cannot say much, save for the fact

Grant’s blue-nose pitbull yanks the leash

as wannabe-Chieftains and princesses strut fringe

 

past Belle Vue where I drank the zephyrs

and dripped chemical-research.

 

On spirit weekend, Elise and Mary-Katherine

rollerskated pom-poms and pony tails

through weekend-abandoned psychology

hallways—they oval-shaped Miami neon

lipstick shades onto their mirror-mouths;

freckled caterpillars in the chrysalis of youth.

We stood before infinite spines of a library

like an anti-war sculpture by Claes Oldenberg.

 

III.

Most afternoons we sat locked-inside-our-filthy-minds,

the College Avenue plywood half-pipe of drop-dead howl.

We fluttered butterfly-polish against pocket-mirrors,

primped, scratched Ticonderoga lead across

miniature-bubble lettermarks.

We stared at the cheer captain’s cocked-leg,

the purple-ribbons in her blond braid.

Dakota and I snake-slid on gravity,

skitched longboards and split bones, wafted

smelling salts like chalk pieces dipped-in Ajax.

Florida was a shrimpboat in a bomb cyclone,

and we fished like we were going to haul full nets,

come back to new deckboots and free beer.

 

IV.

It never happened. Every Mayport family drank

the days to black at The Brass Anchor,

and in the end, nobody said Grace or blessings.

No giving nobody no sugar.

     Warm days I’d dream my face

was a shrimpboat in a bomb cyclone,

turning water oaks to golden fireworks

where every-single-one-of-my-friends

shades gravity black, sees eighty-thousand

apples and free beer abandoned

in the center of a green field.

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