Oakland Trace

May 21, 2009
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“The sun also riseth, and the sun goeth down; and hasteth to his place where he arose. All the rivers run into the sea; yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again...” -- Ecclesiastes 1:5, 1:7

“The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done:  and there is no new thing under the sun.” -- Ecclesiastes 1:9

I.

Summer, paint me a picture
of Pamplona at its glory
The scorching sun baking the earth to dust
The wild bulls preparing to touch
Stalking about the ring
Like the pious at an altar
Soon the edge will penetrate
The first letting
And rampant gushing of blood
Staining the pristine ground

II.

Joie de vivre
I met you one humid afternoon in June
Amidst the swollen branches of gingko trees
Fluttering like confetti
The sun illuminated your hair
Golden chestnut in the temperate air
You steered me toward
The deserted end of Oakland Trace
Past the stop sign the shadows shrouded,
Swallowed houses in the darkness
We invariably turned back
From the dim trails to the blinding sun
My olive skin felt dewy, sweltering in a black strapless dress
The tapping of cerise heels
Echoed conversation and silences

For a moment, everything ceased its motion.
You and I, awkward and diffident,
Stood like children muttering nursery rhymes

“Yeah”
Mary had a little lamb, little lamb, little lamb,
“I’m really glad we hung out today”
Whose fleece was white as snow,
“It’s been a while”
And everywhere that Mary went,
“I know, right?”
The lamb was sure to go.

III.

The knock resonated through the den
I paced back and forth, back and forth
In a circlet of old mistakes and suspicions
Your eyes were obscured
And I knew then that this era, the one of us, had sped
Too far and we were
Wavering in the current that slyly slithered about
Driving us back further

“Can I talk to you for a second?”
“Yeah, sure.”

“Let’s take a walk around the neighborhood, then.
We haven’t gone since the summer.”

And summer was long gone.

The horizon splattered onto the sky
Like a paintbox bleeding onto canvas
Soon the colors evanesced
And the remnant rosy hues melted into the darkness
I could not bring myself to speak
Because I knew as soon as the incriminating
Syllables -- cacophonous -- took root
We would inevitably part.

The street was desolate
The air prophesied the incoming cold
I shivered in my coat
Speak
He wanted.
I don’t know your side. Speak.
I don’t know what the truth is. Speak.

Because the proverbial is not the tangential
Because all the right moves would
Deprive me of you
Assume, then, that it really happened.
The words, lodged in my throat, pummeled

We reached the stop sign.
“We have to go back,” I said.

IV.

Because forcing decisiveness
Meant hiding in ambiguity
Was no longer an option
Please, I would rather be miserable
than to not have you at all
“I don’t know if I want to,” he said,
....
....
“I’m sorry.
But I don’t want to lose you as a friend either.”

And it’s hard, it’ll be so hard
To go from being your everything to a generic person.

And it won’t be easy, won’t be easy
To fathom that after this encounter,
We’ll walk toward different paths
And the whispers of the past
Nostalgia, never relief
Burnt out desire
On a Wednesday afternoon

My arms encircled his torso tightly
And the bitter wintry weather
Left him insouciant
My eyes wrenched the tears in
“I promise not to cry. I won’t cry.”
“Kiss me, just one last time.”
I felt his lips lightly graze my forehead
Moist, tenuous

I glanced at his empty porch as I drove away
Today is waning
And tomorrow will be a brand new day to deceive
And be deceived

If I can make it through today, then I can
Make it through the week, and then I will be able to
Make it through the month, and then the year....

But let me indulge in the transient for now
The tension is mounting
To the hum of Oakland Trace
Cry





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