My city waits for me – her straying wisp –
who fell in love with her from rooftop views
who held her hand the way she would insist
before she’d let me cross her avenues.
She nursed me with the knowledge of her streets
and nourished with that knowledge I would roam
through red mud, bluegrass, blacktop, til my feet
turned toward the blue glass tower leading home.
Though born of her, I lived inside her still
enwombed in urban flesh that never broke
I cleaved to her as offspring often will
adoring how she thought, the way she spoke.
Her downtown scrapers growing toward the skies
were mother features to my daughter eyes.
to make me high
on High Street where I found
always changing hands
(changing styles between its
wooden floors and ceiling fans)
but always open
sweetened with packets of
or clear conversation
a gift from my
I fell infatuation
and lay with her enraptured
eyes to eyes
she guided my palms
over her brick belly
concrete breasts and sidewalk thighs.
We thrilled each other till
we body wept.
Kept women we were
nor bearing shame
in our immaculate embrace.
Each morning, I covered her face
in footstep kisses.
Each evening I praised her shape
from my rooftop vista.
Dressing to please my tastes,
she pulled the Kentucky Theater
from its waste in the back of her closet
re-stitched its plush red curtained proscenium
dusted and shined its stained glass ceiling
and put it on again
powdered her downtown cheeks
with painted horses for weeks as I rode
one to the next in delight.
they nickered and gloated
necks arched in
Now thoroughly decked
she brought me on her arm
to the Beaux Arts Ball
a masquerade in her honor.
The cold damp stone
of the Radisson basement
transformed by her
the architecture students from
her largest university.
Their painted faces praised her
as rhythm raised us both
to ecstatic pitch
and we tangled our limbs in music
not caring whose was which.
Wholly each other’s
till the day my eyes strayed
to a man of my own flesh
and I woke one morning
(body next to his)
to her silence.
Such silence without anger or reproach
not mother’s punishment nor lover’s spurn
releasing me, resolving but to watch
through leaps and falls the lessons I would learn.
And when through panes of glass she saw me cry
she summoned Loudon House to deck its walls
Its courtyard rock and roll a lullaby
reverberating through the gallery halls.
And with such gifts she eased my zigzag mind
my friend whose love was great enough to slack
her stride from by my side to just behind
so she might help, though never hold me back.
I left her with a loving thank you kiss
and now she waits for me – her straying wisp.