the coaptation house

by Gabriel Ricard

The rise of music that appeared by chance,
and the fall of the cities she didn’t mean to build,
in the way she looked back at him twice or four times.

But wait,
it’s a bad day for a heavy heart,
and that could quickly turn into a long night
with the paper bag guard dogs on 37 and Nickel.

Plan bigger, he thinks.
Dream as though someone else’s life
depends on a pathological lie that thinks
no one and nothing has ever heard of momentum.

Walk into the old church on Tuesday,
and take however many chances it takes
to wake up in California on Thursday.

Believe that shit.
Believe Wednesday’s children will feel cheated,
and marshal their forces at the front door
of where the new honeymooners are staying.

Christ can stay away from this Camptown Crusade,
and they can come a-knocking with chains,
plastic bags full of retired Monopoly pieces,
and all the kinky gear their spaced-out imaginations
have exhausted all other uses for.

Thinking about this gets him smiling,
because it would lead him into a charming
kind of ugly,
and a charming kind of aggressive partner
for a weekend of hopeless, bad dancing.

He’s so happy in something that used to happen
to him all the time,
he almost gets into a jam-packed car
that has the deep hope of the blinking red light
at the bottom of Russian Hill on suicide watch.

Because everyone in town
drives that way from 10 PM
to 4 AM.

This is good, he decides.
His heart lightens up.
Cheerfully loses a race with itself.
Casually slips into something more comfortable.

Someone sweet and sober enough
is going to give him a ride home later,
and he almost smacks someone in the face,
when his arms stretch out to make sure
the afterhours documentary in front of him
understands that he has nothing left to give.

Old couple on a bench that shouldn’t be there
catches his eye. She’s looking for pigeons
to baptize in one of the puddles under her feet.
He’s dreaming of the single he and his friends
recorded on a sunny afternoon with cold fingertips.

They’re not familiar.
They’re not refugees from a possible future.
They didn’t escape from a dream he never could shake.

But there’s something about them
that’s chilling for a flash of a hot second.


Posted on 07/30/2013
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Ricard

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