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Danny C Nov 2014
Their noses share an awkward shape,
both too large for their faces, drooping
low and out, the crests aiming down
toward each other's chest.

My mother holds her youth and beauty
tight as a red and white bouquet in her hands.
Her smoky white veil falls behind her shoulders
and down her back, folding gently like summer curtains.
It wasn't love in her eyes; she's admitted before.
but here, anxious and barely 28 years old,
she wears hope on the smile reaching across her cheeks.
Perhaps it was a single thought, a flicker
of a candle's teardrop flame: Maybe
I will love him forever.
And though
it was a lie, here it forced an affection
that pushed long black lashes apart,
and each hazel iris gleamed
with momentary faith, light flooding
the sudden click of a 1/100 shutter speed.

My father looks like another man.
He's consumed by fervent confidence and swagger,
built upon conviction and certainty.
He ought to have a big wet rose in his teeth,
and a big wet bottle clenched in his fist.
His shoulders, broad and rigid, push his chest
toward my mother's fragile collar bones.
His gaze meets hers, and he admits a stubborn smirk,
the same one his father had wielded
in an Army portrait 30-some years before
—that you could see on me now, as well.

This moment is dishonest,
those candid smiles were sudden
and fleeting, a bolt of lightning
splitting the sky in half.
But it's captured here, forever.
Two wild hearts in a moment
of sincerity, toeing a wire
they'd come to learn they
could never balance upon.
But I caress this photo some nights
slowly with my thumb,
knowing neither is my mother
nor my father, but two kids,
who might just hold on
when they're swallowed whole
and buried under rubble and silt
of all the world crashing down.
Danny C Nov 2014
I stood slumped into the corner
of two converging granite counter tops,
struggling to focus on what
he's remembering next—some bland anecdote
or an irrelevant detail: Larson,
I think,
he says finally.

Between pauses—with small, contemplating eyes
set deep, split by his dark, Italian nose—
and dragged uhhh's and hmmm's,
a sowed adoration splits and grows,
a seed (a supernova now).
A man—half my connection
to this world, to existence,
to a trickling, patient bloodline.

He, I; a rambling, scatterbrained mess
of neurons and hard-wiring, sparks and electrical fires.
My father: plagued by anger and impatience,
a sitcom of clumsiness and a tied-tongue,
blessed by conviction, faith and reason.

I don't say any of this. He'll die first,
never knowing how easily I'm reminded
of what I am to become, 32 years from now,
unless he finds me drunk, perhaps after reciting vows,
now vulnerable to cheapening emotion into language.
Danny C Nov 2014
These killer parties pretty much killed us.
That music was loud and pulsating and violently fresh.
There were kids tripping on some stuff
and over some passed out bodies on the floor,
always laughing and saying, maybe just one more.

I always figured we'd out grow these things,
crooked walks home when we were a total mess.
But you got caught up pretty bad in the scene,
and pretty soon Los Angeles had left your mind.
But you were always looking around for a ride.

Suddenly, I found myself in a swarm
of blues, blacks and grays,
funneling past traffic lights and skyscrapers,
up elevators, under railways and
squeezing between shoulders.
But burned into my lips
is a wiped away kiss
(a few hundred, probably),
that maybe we shouldn't have traded.
Danny C Nov 2014
I wondered for the first time today
about the man that will capture your heart,
like I never could.

You'll meet him at some Friday night party
in a dim living room among wafts of pale gray smoke
and stale vapors from a shared hookah.

Some morning later, when lights stab your eyes,
and every sound tosses your stomach, you'll scramble
for scattered clothes, twisted and turned,
inside-out: your heart, confused and excited.

You'll say it was all unexpected, unplanned—a flight unmanned.
I'll hug you like a friend, and I'll mean it when I say
something vague about being happy for you.

At some white-clothed table, sheltered away
from twisting hips and unkempt ties,
I'll slide my fingers down condensation
of an abandoned, unfinished drink.
I'll look at you, and we'll recount the nights,
circa summer 2008, on my bedroom floor
and hanging from monkey bars,
dreaming of cool ocean nights and Hollywood lights.
And I'll pray he will love you like that.
Danny C Nov 2014
I took a drive tonight
to the edge of town—
to our teenage horizon.

I remembered how big that wall used to be,
how scared we were to be confined.
We'd stand at the end of glass-frame houses
like it was the edge of all the world.
So afraid of looking down,
we never lifted our eyes across.

I always thought we were too afraid,
not ready, or something vague.
Maybe we just grew farther
apart. We were meandering rivers
flooding over new plains,
carving out separate trenches.

But I don't think you changed.
I know now I ignored that side of you,
that I was blind to your warning signs
and caution lights.

You were bound to challenge that horizon's cliff,
and I couldn't run from the cities we built
on the front porches of our wild and reckless summers.
Danny C Nov 2014
I stood at the bridge on Monroe,
peering into a stale brown river
hoping to be swept away
by a historic flood.

Reflections of these steel towers
bent, cracked and refracted,
becoming ripples where the water lay flat.
And as I turned, a great roar exploded
like a thunderous train
galloping over a brittle iron bridge.

Slabs of forged metals and concrete
crumbled like an autumn leaf under a footprint.
Mighty architecture burst out in a spectacular grey;
a Fourth of July before 1855.
Everything built, believed and once conceived
now fell like deflating balloons:
slowly, calmly without hurry--only certainty.

And I stood amid the wreckage,
where we once built cathedrals
surrounded by heavy lights and one-way flights.
One step wedged another mile between us,
and our dusty promises became harder to see.
Danny C Sep 2014
I will leave this house in a year.
Before next Christmas it will be surrounded
by monstrous yellow machines
and fat, grimy men in white hard hats.

My home will crumble into dust
like bones done aging—brittle and tired now.
And what once stood will no longer remain:
a white stucco box of memories,
photographs and heritage tucked within the walls.

I will run away to Chicago
taking comfort in drags of cigarettes.
Our lives will have no evidence, no proof
of ever breathing, laughing and crying
in every room that welcomed us.

My mother will leave for the countryside,
somewhere with fewer people and dimmer lights,
to make room for cornfields and starry skies.
Maybe there she will find peace.

I will be there when the swinging mechanical arm
tears away at the shingles and panels of this house.
She is a dying friend and I am a hand in her hand,
assuring her she isn't alone in death,
that I will remember her when the world forgets.
I will scoop up ashes of pulverized concrete and iron.
Somewhere within them will be air we breathed.
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