Sunday, July 15, 2012

Summer 1969 / Michael G. Munoz


Summer 1969

The first turn of July heat
And I was growing fast
Leaning into the sun
Like the nascent fan palms sprouting up
Through the cracked black asphalt in the street
Long summer days
Of no breeze and sweet lemonade
Growing restless with myself
No money
No car
Maybe a dime for ice cream at Save-Ons

It seemed the whole damn world was getting tighter
My clothes too tight
Shoes too tight
Rooms too tight
Money too tight
And all the friends I had
All my life
Were slowly unwinding into strangers

Potheads
Pillheads
Speedfreaks
With beer and cigarettes
With drums and plugged-in guitars
Or worse
With bibles
And like a novice dabbling into the occult
I tried them all
But none of it mystified me
Not like the hypnotic allurement
Of females

I hooked up with Louie Angel that summer
Who lived down the street
And what little
We had in common
Was quickly and quietly filled
By the newly stocked waters of Peck Park Pool

Girls would come out of the water
And pass in front of us
Shivering, giggling, arms crossed, mouths open
Running in short little steps
In packs of threes and fours
Across the roughed out bleached concrete
To a corner in the shade

We would raise up our sunburned faces
Like sleepy little turtles
And from our soggy towels
And peer quizzically
At all these walking mysteries
And whatever lessons
We had learned from the squared-up games
Of baseball, football, or basketball
In our dismal squared-up lives
They could not free us
From this entanglement of the senses

These girls were candy-canes
Hanging from the poisoned vines
Of our imaginations
We just had to figure out how to get to  them
We had to figure them out

Who to walk with
Who to follow
How far were they going
Through which neighborhoods and
Most importantly
Which ones liked us back
And we had to figure this out
Me and Louie
Without saying
More than two words to each other

So me being utterly unambitious
Or at least being the more practical one
Mostly walked with the girls heading south
While Louie
Being the gambler
And having no reason to ever go home
Seeing as he lived with six sisters
Usually picked a girl
That lived over
On the other side of Peck Park Canyon
But it really didn't matter
Once we fixed an address
We'd go back later in the evening
Trekking as partners
Great adventurers
No distance too great or high
Ducking hurled insults
In the shape of rocks
Or dodging chained up dogs
As we shortcut
Down through dusty canyons
And across vacant lots
Through busted up fences and down alleys
That shone in the moonlight
Like galaxies of broken glass
To end up on the white porches
Of sunburned girls
Who weren't allowed to walk anywhere
With a couple of boys like us

Summer
You once kissed my lips and face
Graced my hands with your sweet fruits
And then you moved on
But not before leading me
Into a new season

Not before
Tossing me high high in the air
Mixed-up colors and words
Streaming in the sunlight
Falling to the earth
Like confetti

And although I didn't know it at the time
While leaning into doorways
And mumbling low hellos
I was whispering
A shy good-by
To my innocence
Forever

~~
                               mmunoz     10.09.10
Michael G. Munoz
2010
California, U.S.A.

[All rights reserved by the author - Used with permission]

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