Alright, gentle readers. Gettin’ down to it. Gettin’ serious. “Because here we were dealing with the pit and prune juice of poor Beat life itself, in the godawful streets of Man.”
Remembering it Now
My bicycle is gone, the one with the banana
seat, hand brakes and handlebars
like rams’ horns, wrapped with yellow glitter tape.
It was 5 speed, which was boss in 1972.
Chased by a German Shepherd, I rode it
into a ditch. My mother rescued me.
Papa’s typewriter cannot be found,
a heavy old Royal with black
and red ribbon. No electricity required.
He let me play with it but he used it
to write letters about dogs — German Shepherds.
And dogs arrived and they were good
— his dogs didn’t chase children off the road.
Phone books are gone. Are they even
printed anymore? No need – all of the names
are lost to time and all of the time is lost
to suffering and fear. No one is even
naming the dead. I didn’t know Death
could take so many without bombs
or guns or a very good reason. Casus
belli. We’re going to need a bigger book.
Months and days and hours are gone,
disappeared in the tule fog of quarantine
and unknowing, and weeks of fear
and counting of the unremembered Dead.
The soul waits in a closet the back of the house,
with the sweaters we were wearing
when the world blew down.
All of the Kingdoms of Hope are gone,
all of the plans we had, the bright joyful
memories of time to come.
Who can remember Christmas in a plague?
How we met back in 2020, and we hugged,
hands around the table. In the kitchen,
side by side. We hoped!
We remembered a future more bright
than it ever could have been.
So any time you want to weep for all
that is gone, brothers and sisters, I’ll join you.
From hopefully safely now and here.
J. Kyle Kimberlin
Creative Commons Licensed
I forgot all about those banana seat bicycles. You can put a baseball card in there to make a clicking noise with the spokes, and the one for little kids with training wheels and ribbons coming out the handles.
I remember Major Matt astronaut action figures, Cowboys and Indians, hobby horses on a stick, VertiBird helicopters, Hot Wheels, and for my sisters Breyer Horses, Barbie, her little sister Skipper and Ken.
Lots of fun with Tinker Toys, Lincoln Logs and Legos, wooden blocks and Fisher Price people. Lucky to be a kid back then.
Tule fog of quarantine. Perfect.