For Sam Cook and Michael Lee*
While standing at Marshall and 140th
the lightning over the horizon begs me to come to it
it's like the flickering streetlights, seeming like silent firefights,
simply asking to be looked for.
When I still elementary,
I used to watch the sky as the bolts shocked the earth
and I'd count:
Until I heard the boom and crack of thunder
three miles away, at least, the fourth graders said each second was a mile
it could have been true, it could have not, yet still I watch the light.
The flickering of the fading streetlamp tells me that this moment is not going to last forever
that it will not be heavenly or touchable, but it is there
and it wants you to touch the light as it flickers like a strobe light
like kids playing with the tabs of flashlights
and like the first discovery of light switches
and I'm reaching out so far.
Trying to grab hold of a piece of simplicity,
of what I can always find:
Mistakes and wounds
and trying to hold on
Because lately, it seems like the only places we want to flicker are in the clubs.
Standing on a planet where illness and difference are cause enough to torch cities.
We like to light the fires and we like to watch them burn,
but we could care less about what their burning
and it seems like the dark ages came and stayed,
But like tributes to Guy Fawkes say:
A man can be killed and forgotten,
but four hundred years later an idea can still change the world
So I think as I stand at that intersection
watching the streetlights and the night's light bulbs flicker on and off like the light in my head
I can feel my fingertips prickle and I seize that moment to reach for the lamppost and final destination
those kids are flipping tabs faster and faster
my hair is at attention
and I can feel the race.
For a second,
everything slows down.
The streetlight stops flickering as my fingertips come upon it
and the lightning illuminates the sky
I can feel the breeze push my hair to this minutes path
and for a second,
I have something.
I pull my fingers away from the light and it returns to its flicker
the lightning fades away
and the boom comes in.
And here, standing at what once for me was Marshall and 140th
that all I have
I'll ever claim to know