Ted Berrigan Steps Into My Dream Once Again
Dawn and my small town is too loud.
The bolts have been greased.
The rain has frozen, the town diseased
with all its brown outlines gowned
in white, the trash cans & dreams
along the boulevard, coffee and bread,
and I was thinking instead
of how easy the promise seems
to be lost in the wind. All night
the academy of dreams opens its doors,
another drink with X or Y, more
conversation, but it seems our tears might
finally turn like anything to stone.
Dawn and I am opening the windows.
Worn, tired soles on shiny concourse floors:
endless narratives in clipped snippets
passing by, each pair a nameless vignette:
laces and buckles, Velcro and loafers;
black suede, patent and canvas, glitzy
heels, cowboy boots, work boots, tennis shoes:
for work, vacation, holiday, grief, and the blues
amid festive lights and Christmas wreaths,
seasonal snacks and coffee, spiced this and
fruity that, shuffle, stumble, and weave,
limp and bootstep, wheelchair and cane, ankle-, knee-
and thigh-high boots, bumped, delayed, cancelled, and
missed connections, these brief intersections
of stories passing without expectation.
When I looked at my guitar in the pawn shop—
its wood top nicked and worn—I dreamed of old
love letters in a drawer, faded pictures curled
in dust, a cemetery lined in moss,
junkyard mountains of rusting cars, dogs
guarding the chain-link fence. I don’t know
how much I got for the guitar, though
every day I strolled the aisles of goods
cast off, just to make sure it was still there.
What was any of it worth? The clocks
and watches, the sax and fiddle, boxes
of jewelry and stereos, racks of weather-
beaten clothes. In time, I bought it back.
In time, I learned what little I lack.
Glenn Freeman has published two collections of poetry, Keeping the Tigers Behind Us and Traveling Light, and a chapbook, Fading Proofs. He lives with his wife and two cats in small-town Iowa where he teaches writing and American literature.