That year is no longer that different from any other year, except that that year I descended into a world without light. And all year long I listened to music that proclaimed I was knowledgeable.
Looking in the mirror, I saw myself, not as others saw me, but as I imagined myself. It was brutal, but strangely invigorating. With time, it became a staple of my existence. In order to be aware of myself, I needed to re-confirm my existence.
Backyards, people sitting on steps, white clapboard, brick bank parking lot, KFC, Auto Zone, Attleboro Ice & Oil Co., peaked turrets over bays, Lynn’s Nails, cinder block faux rock, Super Shots Glamour Make-Over in Your Home.
It was the summer of speeding through towns, destination somewhere ahead in the distance, but the present sense only of speed, of passing through. It was the year of seeing stable things from an unstable viewpoint.
It was the first day of the year people could go to the beach, a Saturday filled with sun and space, and they did, going too to fish on elevated wooden walkways. Nearby, a rough scene, boarded-up blocks, people went to have sex under the bridge.
It was the summer I could write along lawns of golf courses, at the 7-11, and concern myself with matters beyond the idiotic chatter emanating from humans oblivious to their environs. No one could hear the announcements.
But a child’s happy laughter was cheering, and it turned out even train tracks buried in brush led somewhere, as bikes throttled up the old road, and the sun dipped slowly toward the horizon.
-- Vincent Katz
Vincent Katz is the author of Swimming Home, just out from Nightboat Books. He curates the Readings in Contemporary Poetry series at Dia Chelsea in New York City. www.vincentkatz.com