It's just poetry, it won't bite

Thirty


06.22.17 Posted in today's words by

Donovan James lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

Thirty
By Donovan James

In the serene clarity of age and sobriety,
I re-enter the old apartment of this ape,
Discarded character traits of Baltimore,
The Carolinas
Strewn across the floor,
Remnants of the passionate throes
Of Portland.

It’s like entering a room after a party,

—Something happened.
But it’s quiet, even empty beer bottles rest,
While idle bowls leak smoke,
And I begin picking up
These old mementos,
Reminiscing
While a subtle smile sneaks,
Across my face . . .

I remember every old friend,
—Not every drunken night,
But the slackjawed faces
Floating through greyed out classrooms,
Illuminated by elbowed sides and inside jokes,
And the dream of leaving . . .
Nights imbued with directionless drives,
And the idle pranks of rebellious youth.
We were too young to read
The immutable ending of
Friendship,
Memories as ships, fading off
Into the horizon of time.

I remember something from every girl I’ve slept with,
—Not every name.
But strands of brunette hair lacerating irises,
Snoozing necks under the shade of ponytails,
Or the smell of your kiss,
The excitement of seeing a smile,
That was,
For a second,
Meant only for me.

I pick up these old photographs,
And place them back on the shelf,
Unashamed.

With the old apartment cleaned, I reside in the grooves of my personality,
Drinking the integral of all angles of architecture
Creating “Donovan James.”

I am the summation of everything.

I rest and massage the well worn threads,
Of the coat I wore
All through my twenties.
I look down with a prideful grin,
And notice it’s still across my shoulders
For a few more months,
Or hours,
Stained with lessons and failures,
Of fucked-up things I said,
And apologies encased in pockets,
That I never had the chance,
Or courage,
To speak.

And of all the miles that had to be burned off my feet.

A decade of thrashing against
An imaginary cage of self—
I could have simply
Been.
We can all simply
Be.

Oh the lives men lead
When those we love,
Don’t love us in return.
So many drinks, hangovers
And one night stands,
Eons of dumbed-down conversations
And those lonely years,
Encased in the prison of hypocritical work,
And all the hours of those harborside thoughts,
Those misplaced nights of wandering walks,
Figuring this all out for myself.

—For what else are your twenties for?



2 Responses to “Thirty”

  1. Charlene james says:

    Oh, how very perceptive, good model for checking self out in 60s and 70s, the litmus test.
    Thanks you really enjoyed.

    • Sandy Paatton says:

      Charlene, what a pleasure it was to read your wonderful piece. A feast for the eyes and the stirring of SO many memories of ‘those very good years.’ Thank you.

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