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David Adamson Oct 2016
Salt Lake City, 2015*

Like a tourist in my own childhood,
I wander the neighborhood of my youth.
It’s not quite a pilgrimage, as
pilgrims know what they’re looking for.

I stand at the flagstone fountain in the park
and gaze across the street
at the red brick bungalow
where my family lived until I was 13.

Am I supposed to intone something?
Summon a spirit? Or perhaps I’m the one
who’s been summoned. Ghost of myself.

On this spot, there’s the illusion of level ground,
but here at the northwest corner of this Victorian
mountain city, the ground slopes in every direction
if you walk a few yards. North up to the Wasatch,
east up to the Wasatch, south more gently but up again,
to the Wasatch, and west sharply down to the valley floor.

Set into the hillside, the house faces west.
A boarded-up plate glass window
makes it blind in one eye.
In the summer, from that window,
we could see postcard sunsets,  
fiery light sinking into the Great Salt Lake.
In winter the gray stasis of inversion.

The old brass address plate—61—still hangs
Slightly crooked on the molding below the attic dormer.
The steep cement steps to the wide front porch
look worn by nostalgia.

My grandparents bought this house in 1938,
and sold it to my parents in 1957, so dad,
the English professor, could walk to work
at the U., a half block away.  I was 1.

Double exposure.  I can’t separate this view
From old photos and recollections.

There to the right on the parking strip,
I once hid under a giant cardboard box
when I knew my sister was walking back from campus.  
As she got close, I jumped out,
causing a satisfyingly chilling scream.  
She tried her best to be furious at me,
but we were both laughing too hard.

1946:  Dad in black and white stands
to the left of the porch’s north column in his graduation gown,
his bachelor’s degree delayed seven years
by a Mormon mission to Scotland and World War II.

1955: all my siblings and all the children
of my mother’s sisters posed on the sweeping cement stairs
for an iconic black and white portrait. Only one missing:
Me.  Not born yet.  All those cousins
Sitting on my steps before I existed.  
There must be a word in some language
for the feeling that gave me. I never could name it.

I start up the alley to the north side
to take a lap around the place.
The brick’s discolored and damaged
from a half-century’s growth of ivy,
recently stripped away, like skin where a tattoo’s been removed.
A picture I took in 1985 shows ivy completely covering the dim brick.

At night, a car turning up this alley would cast crazily
dancing lights  on the ceiling
of my pitch-dark basement bedroom,
through this little porthole-size window.
My heart  would race, knowing it meant my parents were home.

The cement walk alongside the house is crumbling
and has started to melt into the wild grass.

The next window, at the landing of the basement stairs
is where a black widow lived, encased in the space between
inner and outer panes. I used to study the red hourglass
on its abdomen, and tried to draw it.
Couldn’t get it right. Was better at artillery.

In the back, against this wall, an old radiator was standing, waiting for removal  after home improvements.
It toppled over and landed on my brother’s foot.
Crutches for weeks.  Bad luck, but maybe it inoculated
him.  He’s still never had a broken bone.

Here behind the garage, the old crabapple tree still stands,
nurturing its sour but highly flingable fruit.
At its base a hamster lies buried.

The little side yard on the south looks the same,
though the old white trellis that I used to climb
when I was so tiny it would support my weight is gone.

Back to the ***** at the front of the house.
Leaving for school in the morning I would
leap this ***** in a single bound.

The old place looks creased and sleepy.
It doesn’t remember who I am,
is starting to fade into the past.
It’s only about half here.
The rest is memory and desire.
I know this is a bit long and discursive, but I hope you'll stay with it! If you want to see a photo of the house, go to the tumblr address on my home page.
Distant shadows,
Traveling into the absence of light.
Illuminating a pathway of sorrow,
Imagining the beauty of Helen’s sight.

Diving into the abyss,
Searching for lost remains.
Encountering a series of melancholic words,
Reliving one's past fate.

Salvaging sunken letters,
Written in Cephalopod ink.
Subsiding into Davy Jones' locker,
In quest of the skeleton key.

Pursuing the Sirens voice,
Inducing a tidal wave.
Awakening to disillusion,
Anchoring hope to reality once again.

By: Michael M. De La Fuente
The Skeleton Key is a symbolic interpretation of a long lost love dreamed about last night. You will find plenty of symbolisms derived from Greek Mythology and metaphoric expressions within every line. My interpretation may be seen below for those who wish to follow the original meaning of the poem. Hope you enjoy it. Without further ado:

Distant shadows:
– Glimpsing flashbacks of her pleasant sight

Traveling into the absence of light:
– Nostalgic memories fading into darkness

Illuminating a pathway of sorrow:
– Igniting a yearning desire to be with her once more

Imagining the beauty of Helen’s sight:
– Symbolically comparing her beauty to Helen, the Queen of Laconia, who was considered the most beautiful woman in the world in Greek Mythology

Diving into the abyss:
- Taking a leap of faith into love once again

Searching for lost remains:
- Hoping to rekindle the long lost flame

Encountering a series of melancholic words:
– Finding nothing more than sadness and grief, instilled pain

Reliving one's past fate:
– Undergoing the same heartache once again

Salvaging sunken letters:
– Recollecting the unparalleled memories spent together

Written in Cephalopod ink:
– Metaphorically comparing the pen’s ink to the thick black ink that an octopus ejects to confound attackers. Insinuating that each word was written as a method to escape.  

Subsiding into Davy Jones' locker:
– Falling into the realm of darkness; hitting rock bottom

In quest of the skeleton key:
– Symbolically searching for new possibilities to alter the tragic outcome

Pursuing the Sirens voice:
– Metaphorically comparing the enchanting voice of the Sirens from Greek Mythology to the hypnotizing nature of her seductive voice

Inducing a tidal wave:
– Stimulating the reticent heart

Awakening to disillusion:
– Awakening to realize that it was just a lucid dream

Anchoring hope to reality once again:
– Symbolically indicating the conveyance of hope from one realm to another
David Adamson Nov 2015
Hardened to experience
Like gum beneath a chair,
I cannot explain
This lasting hunger for simple fictions.

Yet prompt me as you tried so long ago
To imitate the joker in the balcony
Who shouts “I’m gonna be sick!”
And launches a bucketful of mushroom soup
Over the railing,
To this day I forget my only line.  
The gestures, too.  
And the sound effects?  
The mind’s ear can’t hear them anymore,
Let alone vibrate to them in Sensurround.

But I’m still slouching down in familiar dark,
Feet stuck to the floor, waiting for the previews to end,
Hoping that a moving picture conjures
Something whose absence has become
So powerful that I begin to think
It’s really the presence of something else.

The aroma of our time together
So many years ago lingers
Like the faint odor of mushroom soup.
Life: "There are days when we are open to beauty."

Some of them are not.
Life is a marvelous
Cat playing with
It's pray.
With us.
For us?

Sometimes I love
To be taken
By it's sweet surprises.

Me thinks: "Taboos are there to remain intact!"
To the law
Of Attraction

We dance as infatuated
Dervishes dressed in trousers
Flowing forth. Toward each other's all pervading
Persistent exoplanets orbiting 'ur private passions: :  
Knowing it' self, its potency
Penetrating our thoughts

Mighty male:
Satisfy You?"

I'm such
An obsolete
Amethyst, good for lucky charms and ready made domesticated potions.

Imploded desires rise and fall
Within the invisible canopy
Of our dreams and glances
Watch us!
They rise and fall


Elated Chalices
Rise and fall
Like legends      

Legends love to be loved
In silence
Of our hearts
Heard and ingrained
Deep within our souls.

In this modest mode I pretend to be    
Bemused by little things tossing  
And turning me around  
Just to forget
your presence    
And to remember        
Your immortal spirit.              

I yearn for you!

Surpressed passion is all I have;
And blue heaven arched upon
Spellbound portals. Sheer
Kan devour my hide in
Seek in the shade.

Of the first creative act
Blows the raven away
Along scented mahogany
At the modest shelter
Of our habitual insanity of
Sparks and stars
Bursting into
Flames. . .our
Suppressed desires. . .


Tagore: "Where the mind is without fear
and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free
Where the world has
not been broken up
into fragments
By narrow domestic walls
Where words come out
from the depth of truth
Where tireless striving stretches
its arms towards perfection
Where the clear stream of
reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert
sand of dead habit
Where the mind is
forward by thee
Into ever-widening
thought and action
Into that heaven of freedom,
my Father, let my country awake."

— The End —