Monday, June 30, 2008

An Improbable World

Sometimes I am not sure how to write the things I want to write here, to give you the details and the pieces that inspire the things I write and yet to save the privacy of the people in my life. But something has been sitting with me since I left work tonight, since I came home on the train and walked the long way in a hissing summer rain and made a salad and sat on my terrace watching the rain move over the skyline. Its dark outside and its still sitting with me, so I'll tell you a story.

When we are young, and by young I mean seventeen or so, everything, I mean all of it, is at once possible and impossible. It is so easy to imagine greatness. And it is so easy to give up. Because we have no idea how its going to go. And we've barely been tested. And some of us have only been failed. And yet we have endless potential. And the fear of success, and the fear of this world cripples us from unveiling this potential. Sometimes, when we are younger, say seventeen, the sadness in our eyes can sort of paralyze the people around us because they just want to help. They just want to say, look, it passes, it gets better, you can do this, but they know they can't say a word, because we have to learn it ourselves by living it.

That's all I wanted to say. That. And this.

The Summer I Was Sixteen
by Geraldine Connolly

The turquoise pool rose up to meet us,
its slide a silver afterthought down which
we plunged, screaming, into a mirage of bubbles.
We did not exist beyond the gaze of a boy.

Shaking water off our limbs, we lifted
up from ladder rungs across the fern-cool
lip of rim. Afternoon. Oiled and sated,
we sunbathed, rose and paraded the concrete,

danced to the low beat of "Duke of Earl".
Past cherry colas, hot-dogs, Dreamsicles,
we came to the counter where bees staggered
into root beer cups and drowned. We gobbled

cotton candy torches, sweet as furtive kisses,
shared on benches beneath summer shadows.
Cherry. Elm. Sycamore. We spread our chenille
blankets across grass, pressed radios to our ears,

mouthing the old words, then loosened
thin bikini straps and rubbed baby oil with iodine
across sunburned shoulders, tossing a glance
through the chain link at an improbable world.

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