It was the time of my Auntie Bee summers I was small then She had a parakeet that landed on my head and a bathtub too with water so deep! and legs and claws! **** thing nearly chased me down the stairs!
She lived in slumbery Windsor Locks where bugs hung-out in the haze of teenage August I played in the tall weeds with a shoeless Italian boy who ate tomatoes like apples and cucumbers right off the vine! He was ***** free and foreign! We played— reckless, abandoned behind the gas pump, under the tractor, in the barn and through the endless fields I didn’t know.... His name was Tony I ate pizza with him—the first time
At Auntie Bee’s I had to go to bed at eight but I could watch night flowers bloom on wallpaper She came in to say good night slippered, shadowy, night dress slightly open and I peeped her *******! like Tony’s cucumbers! I had never seen my mother’s wonders....
Night spread its wings from the old fan— a bird of tireless exhaustion whipped, whipped, whipped to death in its cage tireless exhaustion tic-tocking in time to a wind-up clock stretched out on the whine of the overland trucks Route Five through the night of an open window
In the grape arbor below— tremulous incessant crickets crickets crickets tremulous incessant—insides of a child a summer child not yet ready for the fall of answers
Auntie Bee had a daughter—Maureen I followed her everywhere I could I was small then-- do anything for a stick of Juicy Fruit I followed Maureen through my dreams of being sixteen and woke to Peggy Lee’s “Fever” while she tied her sneakers against the mattress by my head
I followed Maureen (in my mind) tanned and bandanned to work in the fields of shade tobacco with all those Puerto Rican boys! She knew where she was going!
I was small then ...do anything for a stick of gum
“Mauney! Mauney! Mauney!” ...through the goldenrod of roadside through the smell of oil that damped the dust I followed Maureen’s white shorts and chestnut hair...to the corner store I followed the way the boys smiled the way the screen door slammed on her bright behind the way her lips taunted and took the coke-bottle’s green I followed Maureen
I swear, I tried for hours to get that right!
Must have been Peggy Lee’s “Fever”
Maureen ties her sneakers in my face Flaunts her years above my head She has that look— “We kids don’t know nothin” (Little turds” that we be)
…followin’ Maureen through the goldenrod of roadside tic-tockin’, be-boppin’
“Fever— in the morning Fever all through the night….” _
Peggy Lee's Fever: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4hXyALR9vI I was seven years old, but I somehow got this.