summer on pine street

Most things are hot and sticky. Overheated, trying to fall asleep, I measure my breathing by the thump of the leather bar's bass...in four, out four. In five, out five. In six, out six...

Some evenings we stuff our little space full of people, food, and conversation. Those are the best evenings. Something tangible fills the air. We all feel as though we could change the world, one sentence at a time, trying to forget (or save?) the bodies that fill the park every night, humans trying to find some corner to be safe and settling in drifts along the chain link fence instead.

summer on pine street

Graffiti vaginas and Bernie Sanders' hair appear at regular intervals along the peeling, brick walls of the surrounding buildings while the streets are filling up with the memories of the past... almost three? years...the jerking movements of the man coming down the street while wrestling to get the door open. The woman's attack down by the park. The yells, sirens, sobs, and triumphant calls at three in the morning.

The most famous thrift shop in the world (thank you Macklemore) is plastered over in ten-foot-high letters, empty, echoing, yet another sign that soon I won't be able to afford to live here. The owner dreamed of more money so now it's been vacant for over a year. Every half block and old storied homes lie dismembered as shining examples of modern design spring up in their place. Filled with wood but somehow too angular. Density. Yes. Density is important but it feels like we humans are being bulldozed. ...I say as if I'm not part of the problem...as if I didn't choose this community on purpose. I could have chosen somewhere else. But I didn't. This one was the most alive. And we could afford the rent.

...

Plants crowd around the windows of our apartment, filling every last inch of sun-filled sill. Doctor's literal orders. I never thought I would see that written on a prescription slip. I have never been more grateful for the hedge-turned-haywire tree out our windows but somehow the filtered light isn't as comforting anymore. It doesn't block enough of the late-night desperate sounds and my tolerance for them is weakening.

More often than not I retreat into the apartment, a cool shady corner or claustrophobic hot-box depending on the day. I retreat out of fear.

Fear that I can't do anything; fear that I won't.