Cool Being An Unstable Condition
on the commute home
The woman, budding young in her kelly green,
purple and yellow striped tights, accessorized
by light pink kakis, grimaces in deep silence
from her day. Perched up on the moving
bus, she waits for her stop. She pulls the cord.
The bell dings. Red light shines stop. The war
between her clothes and her expression
draws me into speculation, a mathematical
mystic masking my moments of coming home.
She occupies her age of uncertainty
with an armor of a clown. Amour waits her,
she hopes behind long rectangular black
glasses, accented by plastic diamonds.
Her hair, the color of dusty prairie dogs
dodging the gunsights of men, limps
on her neck. I remember the time I chose
to wear shirts with flowers as a marker of my
identity. I was her age, the tip of adulthood.
Fitting in by attempting to stand out,
the curse of the young and the unsure.
Black Eye patches, Reebok tennis shirts,
Fedoras, my signposts of the hurricane
of doubt I worked through to find
the illusive. Standing out to fit in. What a tool
I must have seemed, though my peers
failed to notice for their similar outfits.
My cousin Daniel dress like a stripper,
complete with burgundy tearaway chaps.
Another friend, who later dated Sandra Bullocks,
the movie star, took to wearing for a time,
a velvet cape. The better to be hip and ahead
of the curve. I remembered how he practiced
to perfect the lighting of cheap cardboard
matches with one hand. He went on to live
his minor rock and roll dream of not exactly
fame, just stories of brushes with celebrities.
Cool being an unstable condition.
That is the truth we laugh at finding yellowing
photos of the young, or notice the young redoing
the search of fitting in by standing out.
She walks off the bus. The others move on. I write
of times long past echoed in the present. If you
stand on a edge of a canyon and shout out,
your might hear your voice returning
to you, sounding just a little more hallow
than when it left you moments before.