Alec Witthohn

Rookie (1996 / Denver, CO)

Rollerskate Architects Poem by Alec Witthohn


I asked for lemons;
For a way
To stream fire down
My cheeks
Like milk or rainwater.

So I heard the sunset
Rise. Listened to it
Emerge from the hills
What sweet music
The morning symphony
Played.

I was eager once for
The walking letters
Under the subway
Tracks. Now I see
They only play at
Filling their lungs with
Tar.

Three trees stood
In a yellow wood
And spoke of Robert Frost.
Kissing him goodbye;
I need to kiss something
Goodbye.

Did you see in the
Lane the light escape,
Slipping open the lamp
Door. I watched it float,
Saw it dance away.

I caught two faced flounders,
Submarine sharks,
And broomtails with actual
Brooms for tails.
I saw two legged umbrellas
And hippos fallowed
By water puddles.

I most clearly remember
A man of the city.
An old city that had melted
Then frozen in love.
And I was in love.

The man he knew words,
But he wasn't a poet. An
Architect, wearing roller
Skates. He said he never
'Rollerskated'. He painted
Characters like water
Falls crashing into the page.

Jean-Luc Gudard with
Sensibility.

I had liked the midnight
Plaster that soaked my
Tongue so often. Knew
That every gleaming word
Was a golden stroke on
The canvas I
Never touched.

I saw the road and the
Skyscrapers before me.
They fell into black
Forgetfulness. Devils
And shirtless women
Danced together in
Apartment windows
Made of yellow jello.

I looked back at those
Letters lighting up,
Catching fire. All of it
Horrified me. I felt the
Curve in my tongue and
Loved every millimeter.

Look at me the isolated
Human.

I sat in my head on a
Benchofmatchsticks.
Staring down those
Letters.

I knew maybe it wasn't time for us to kiss Frost goodbye.
It was a sense of sensibility that Gudard was sensible.
I never needed to kiss anything goodbye, I knew it.
For Frost had never truly been freezing, we had just froze him.

So I stopped
I stood and
Looked out
Seeing the sea
I struck a fire
And lit my
Match stick bench
Aflame.

Submitted: Saturday, April 06, 2013
Edited: Thursday, October 10, 2013

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