Sunday, January 8, 2017

You can never go home any more




My kind of town
my hometown was

My kind of town

a church made of bricks and boards
bannister slivers and varnish
old hallway, stained glass
school from the 1800s
squeaky floors
a purple runner on a communion table
horse pulling wagon with milk bottles rattling
a house made of glass and cedar
and the paste-white face of Milky the Clown

we sang the Elmer the Elephant anthem
here's what Elmer has to say 
on the street you never play
pilgrims of safety 
and obedience
an ivy-smothered brick partition
standing around the convent
old school        an old school
TV on all the time always the TV 
Captain Jolly and Poopdeck Paul
showing up late for choir the gown that got dirty
oh come and join the happy fair
if wonders you would see
all down the front I shouldn't be eating in it
"my teacher's name is Mr. Service"
riding on my brother's back
a cat named Timothy
who crawled behind the stove

we sat in rows, I couldn't see anything
the seats folded up on our desks the sides wrought iron
you had to have a milk ticket don't forget your milk ticket
I sang in rows it was junior choir
a song came on the radio
Maple City Maple City
"it's the store with the heart in the heart of town"
and then we went to the Spudnut Shop

Jesus Saves it said on the church on the corner
that no one ever goes into
or maybe I just don't see them
brown people 
kept separate
horses I remember riding horses
and the communion table
and all that stuff on TV hi-yo Silver 
horse chestnuts all brown and shining
a dog named Skippy skipping 
skipping double-Dutch
and growing up           changing
not wanting the changes very much

I see my town in amber and it's old and it's brown
it's my town
it's my kind of town

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