GROW OLD ALONG WITH ME

There used to be a white box truck

that’d come Tuesday mornings and idle on the sidewalk,

which made the windows rattle and my dog whine.

It doesn’t come on Tuesdays anymore 

or any other morning, I’ve noticed.

 

The restaurants have been swapped out,

and the gas stations razed. 

There are new dogs in the neighborhood

but the old ones have left. 

The parking lots are condos, the houses boarded up,

and the backyards look like campsites. 

I’ve counted six Porsche Carreras in just as many days. 

 

I am told what I see is progress. 

“For whom?” I ask.

My opponent smiles as he condescends, 

“Oh, you bleeding heart.”

 

Do you know luxury’s sinful secret?

Until the 17th century it was kin to lust.

For Shakespeare, it was adultery:

she knows the heat of a luxurious bed.

Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.

 

And what about the Latin luxus?

Scratch the surface and it bends sharply from “excess”

to dislocated, the simple past tense and past participle of dislocate,

meaning: to put something out of its usual place. 

 

But some things are planted firmly in place,

the discordant woman remains the loathsome harpy,

and my observations sound as "obnoxious complaints."

 

Seeking comfort, I go see Sara Shelton Mann

trace a path from Tennessee to San Francisco

and reiterate that undying grace—love, bloody love—

in verse and dance and song, this time accompanied

by the suddenly ubiquitous Dolly Parton singing

“I will always love you"

If I should stay, 

I would only be in your way

So I'll go, but I know

I'll think of you every step of the way

[Cue tears and explode hearts]

 

I leave at intermission to scrawl the day’s coda

in the margins of the program:

 

The wind does not ask our permission to blow

nor does the room rebuild around us just because we want it to.

Time does not stop and love is not ours to keep.

We do not own this city or that city or the one out farther still

and despite our best prediction,

Watch your knees, you’re going to get clipped.

the wind does not ask our permission to blow 

a world to rubble, a face to grey, a heart away

over land none of us dare own.