Peachtree Street

by angeliska on August 6, 2015

In that latitude the temperature flirted with a hundred degrees for a few of the dog days, but to a child it can hardly ever be too hot. I liked the sun licking the backs of my legs, and the sweat between my shoulder blades, and the violet evenings, with ice cream and fireflies, wherein the long day slowly cooled. I liked the ants piling up dirt like coffee grounds between the bricks of our front walk, and the milkweed spittle in the vacant lot next door. I liked the freedom of shorts, sneakers, and striped T-shirt, with freckles and a short hot-weather haircut.
We love easily in summer, perhaps, because we love our summer selves.

― John Updike
Last one on the tree.
Last one on the tree.
Here you are towards the end of summer, a peach on the tree, unripe.
Nothing feels ready, nothing feels done.
What does it take for anything to feel complete?
The heat in your body ripples out in quivering waves: creating mirages,
shimmering oases, pools of clear blue water that coruscate
upon the tarry asphalt blacktop,
beckoning for an instant and then gone.
Burning up inside but no fever.
It sucks so bad to be sick in summer.
All the soup and tea in the world can’t help you.
It feels wrong anyway. You drink it down anyway.
You must stay down, stay inside.
cherry bark cough syrup spilled
and coating the inside of your thighs
sticky but not sexy.
The optical illusion of all the time in the world.
Iced tea drinkin’, front porch sittin’, and no deep thinkin’.
The only way to survive a summer in the south.
Good harvest.
A good harvest.
The mosquitoes are mostly gone because all the rain’s dried up
but you didn’t go swim enough. Got that end of summer feeling again
like maybe you missed the boat. So many photographs of friends
at weddings, dipping in sacred cenotes, lounging on boats,
washing their hair in rainbow waterfalls with blue butterflies all around.
I mean, you’ve been that person too, sometimes. Right?
Texts and subtexts. Everything’s gone to pot, and the pot’s black.
It’s days like this that make you want to throw your hands up,
move to a cave somewhere far away, stop trying to ever help
anyone ever, never speak a word to any humans ever again.
But, whatever you do, don’t try to escape from your pain. Just be with it.
The surest way to go to hell is to run away from hell.

Peachtree Street.
Peachtree Street.
Dog days and the dogs are bored.
Long hours spent, tongues lolling
on the cool concrete floor of the laundry room.
Little projects and bits of big ones finished here and there, but it’s never done, never enough.
In winter it’s okay to rest, to hibernate. In summer, you just feel like a jerk for it.
Classical station KMFA on the little rainbow radio, late into the night,
on the nights you can keep your eyes open long enough to catch
the good stuff. The music to keep the night owls company.
Not such a good night owl anymore, but you more or less fail
at being a morning bird – so what kind of strange bird are you now?
Rara avis, eh? Or maybe just the in-between kind. A cygnet, famously ugly.
One day your eggs will hatch – and some very strange birds are going to emerge.
Rooster roosting on my Volvo. He's been chillin' there all night.
Rooster roosting on the old Volvo. He chills there every night.
The overall lassitude is infectious. When you’re not traveling anywhere:
not preparing to travel, or recovering from travel. Just staying put.
Staying in. Your elevation may require your isolation.
It’s the same old story. But you miss your friends.
Old summer habits are hard to break:
That staying too much indoors, because of the heat, the bugs, the brightness.
Your body feels like lead by midday, though early in the morning it’s made of pure gold.
All you do with it is stretch out in that shining dazzle coming in the windows from the east
Wave your hands in thanks, in dazed gratitude, and fall back fast asleep.
You meant to swim more, play dominoes, think less,
stretch the body, delight in it – at the radiant joy of even having one,
being gifted this form. You meant to walk the dogs more, take them
to the not very secret place to splash around. But everything got very heavy.
One page seemed to take all day. Four hours passed in the blink of an eye.
Time ceased to make any sense at all.
To be a green anole, perched on the handrail by your bedroom window:
heart-shaped throat bubble beating like a valentine, being presented outward,
over and over, as a gift, an enticement, a form of communication.
We could learn some lessons in that, and in regeneration, from lizards.
My little bedroom stoop got some love today. It's turning into a really nice place to sit and be peaceful in my lovely backyard.
The tiny chirps of the golden eyed tree frogs who seem to live in your windowsill
serenade you in the evenings. You want so much to learn their language.
You like to imagine their tiny hands, with orbed and sticky fingertips. If you had fingertips
like that, you could climb the walls better. Vanquish those monstrous tree roaches,
nemeses that plague you, who desecrate your sanctuary seeking out water, your company.
Yellow-jackets and lazy red wasps get trapped in your bedroom.
They used to fly in through the broken window before you taped it up.
The fly around aimlessly, prompting theatrical maneuvers,
much ducking and covering, cowering in the dark. Keeping very still.
Dusky green hummingbirds shop the turk’s cap, un-photographable.
Crepe myrtle’s heavy fuchsia heads sway listlessly in the warm breeze.
It’s like living something out of Tennessee Williams or Eudora Welty,
why feel moved to review it, if you exist in it?
There’s always something to recover from in summer:
some sordid drama or flare out of energy.
Sunspots cause brownouts in the grid
and in your vision as you stumble, blinking, inside.
I've been immersed in the joyous Sun card all week, and the hot bright weather is certainly complimenting my intention, if not my focus! We're in it, y'all - summer is ON in Texas for real... I do truly love hot weather, but I must say - I've been really
Disasters in this season always have a bit of theatrical flair:
enter the black plague on the back of a flea, stage left.
It’s stands to reason, being the Leo time of year. If you listen
closely, you catch echoes of the lion’s dying roar.
There are always catastrophes – deaths, wildfires and big storms.
Heated up tempers. The horseherb is burnt to a crisp, the grass gone yellow.
Nighttime doesn’t feel safe for long strolls and canine constitutionals.
When you do go, you come back with your shoes filled to the brim with salt-water.
Hands bearing the marks of a rope wound tight, spine set rigid, then slack as a whip.
Strange shapes move inside of the night that might swallow you up (and your little dog too).
You think: maybe pushups, for these arms that used to resemble sticks.
Now much rounder, softer stalks, made of marshmallow root. Maybe yoga,
and pour another glass of iced tea. The hammock goes unhung.
The early hours untested, though it’s cool enough still, then.
You lay on the wood floor in an old rayon slip, soaked to the bone,
flapping a rattan fan hopelessly like the mouth of a goldfish upended:
oh no oh no oh no
In Sioux mythology, Anpao, the spirit of the dawn, has two faces.
In Sioux mythology, Anpao, the spirit of the dawn, has two faces.
You get lost on the way to your sad appointment.
Nearly get into an accident on the highway with
a bald man in a big truck who pulls forward into
oncoming traffic without looking, his hand clutched
at his ear, foot on the gas. You honk at him and then
honk some more. A scared and angry goosegirl, sent
into an animal confusion and so you mix up north and south.
Migrating for miles and miles in the wrong direction.
You’re having a panic attack but don’t know it yet.
You are reminded of this fact by the handsome young man with the trim black beard
sitting at the bus stop dressed in neat and sober charcoal grey despite the heat
who watches you roll past crying, your hand pressed to your mouth.
He nods gravely in acknowledgment. You make your way down the
quiet road a piece to a spot of shade where you can properly fall apart.
There’s a difference between inaction and velleity.
This feels like being so tired you can’t move.
You work so hard to make things better, and in
the end it all happens anyway. Where’s the space
for real rest? Where do we make room for powerlessness?
There are plenty of good and lovely things, too. Of course.
There are worse things it does no good to even allude to.
You had started writing poetry again, sort of.
This is how it came out today. As an experiment
in standing outside the self, and seeing how it looks from there.
Easier, sort of – and yet infinitely more uncomfortable.

Lispector – Peachtree Street
Once I saw this famous actress on Peachtree Street.
There is no tree. There is no peach. On Peachtree Street.

3 comments

getting back into old swings can be hard. thank you for feeding me.

by jen on August 8, 2015 at 12:47 am. Reply #

Yes — plenty of good and lovely things. I like the way it works with the separations and the pictures, as if they were separate poems that somehow ran together.

by Lynda on August 11, 2015 at 9:15 am. Reply #

Beautiful writing. I always set your posts apart so I can read them later, when I have time to immerse in your words. Thank you.

by Stella Polaris on August 13, 2015 at 4:10 am. Reply #

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