Gypsy Hearts Rising As Spirits

Say Hello To Heaven, Temple of the Dog, another late slanting sun autumn evening, no leaves on the trees in Parkstoke, not the palm trees of Bessamewanna, the Bessamewanna Airport where the warbirds buzzed the double-wide trailer on Hedgegroom Street, and they were upscale greenskeepers in their off-hours, smoking and drinking the lawn, the air filled with the humidity of evaporated bongwater, bongsmoke released like genie dreams from the lamp, another autumn at Arbor Frost, another two, how young Bob was, eighteen, then nineteen, facing the sunset over the Florida Turnpike through the woods where cows grazed, almost country, cooking hot dogs and baked beans on a portable grill, listening to Sly and The Family Stone’s Greatest Hits on cassette, that was the summer of ’88, the hotness of the air forcing him to stop before heading in to close at ISMOF, stop at the Lucky 13 for an eleven-ounce returnable bottle of root beer or sometimes something else, and the bottles and caps would litter the inside of the Truehood, the one whose side Bob punched and whose underside Bob mangled as well as his hands in order to replace the

… creeks where children build their forts out of scrap pieces of wood or fallen branches …

car’s starter, how the bolts were rusted and if he could remember how he got it all to work he would be the genius of the situation, finishing a leftover grilled cheese from lunch, trying to sell a business, reaching the end of his rope, ready to leave on walkabout, leave it all except take the cat everywhere, the cat must travel in the backpack as the cat drifted across the water with the ocean rafter William Willis who lived on salt water and sea air, drifting like lichen across the sea, the sea which held Bob’s father the submariner, first on a nuclear sub, and one of the first to cross the North Pole under the arctic ice cap, and now it is all melted away, but the achievement does not lose significance, it only gains the elevation, the gypsy hearts rising over the Lancashire Gap as spirits from the evaporation on the surface of the planet, into a sunset, into a land of sunsets, desert, forest or the dream of a forest, creeks where children build their forts out of scrap pieces of wood or fallen branches, also in autumn, the smell of the soaked earth, mudden bridges, ducks from the ponds heard across the playground, the playground of sand where Alan fell from the fireman’s ladder and broke his arm, rubbing powdered soap into their arms to get out on medical leave at NJP, sure, just rub it dry on your arms till it gets nice and pink, then go to First Aid near the park entrance and get them to release you for the day with pay, that was one of the sandbagging scams, other than smoking a lot of pot on the clock in the back areas and in the pipe chases and on the rooftops, the old emptied-out soda can with holes poked into it where you put the weed, but don’t forget to poke a carb in the end or the air won’t flow through it, sometimes the buds have little red hairs in them that are full of THC, not TLC…

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