Washing Poles
originally published in Nii Journal

Devin N Morris 2016

New York ain't so bad when you can afford unlimited margaritas at brunch. The bus departs the curb en route to the next stop. I depart walking north. A vacant lot opens up on my right and strewn atop the pile of discarded toy furniture, debris, and ruptured bags of clothing, lays a Polo Ralph Lauren shirt. A jogger passes me. I turn to follow him and his swaying shorts down the block. Adding stitches to seams, his needle-like legs prick the ground as he treads. Sewing the new frontier that will soon grow where the rubble once lay. Monuments of gray architecture replace brown stone.

Lo, I am in need now so I wear you above my left breast. Here we are in love, gathered at Macy’s in matrimony. I, you and all of us, buying plaid and horse. Tell me now your edict on said predicament. I am in need of guidance, Lo. I flock to your altar still, I procure your affection and fill your coiffure in the process. Appropriately, I near my spending limit in the offering plate and parade your blessings up and down the street. Even at the white party I participate in your praise, emblemed.

It’s never really water under the bridge is it? A ripe land I inherit.

I hear a young man yell, “showtime” and a dream I experienced nights prior momentarily materializes. He soars into my view, a flying boy. Blonde coils sprout up like thoughts of spring in the dead of winter. Sunny porch please let me enter. A mantis wearing silver sunglasses

with ink black lenses and a tattered wife beater that spills over voluminous powder blue sweat shorts finished off with age worn American Flag Printed Jeremy Scott Wings sneakers. Yet he has no freedom to fly.

The acrobatics are now begun and music thumps rhythmically. His hypeman, soon to be Act 2, encourages the performance with chants. His feet come within an inch of the face of a young black man, whom on the platform minutes prior is ironically prompted by a pretty and polite girl, "I'm happy you're finally coming out to do something fun”. Her tone curt, I wonder if this showing is what he was thinking of then. He yells to the performer, “ All I ask is for you to let me see the water as we go over to cross the bridge. Don't obstruct my curiosity. We jump the rain pool. What I need is for you to move a little to the right, I would like to look out the window.”

We are all en route to the water. A fence of advertisements guard the worn off-white tin heaven of this subway car, projecting from their podium today reads the messages of the MTA’s Courtesy Counts; Manners Make a Better Ride campaign, a "Showtime" in their own right. Train etiquette caricature illustrations, akin to Keith Haring drawings on valium, perform mundane tasks beside exclamations of “Keep your stuff to yourself”, “Step aside let others out" and “Don't be a pole hog”. The dancer’s head reaches the bottom of the pole, his feet are stretched to any God but that of this perilous Earth, and through a yellowed fluorescent light haze of a puzzle garden seated people, he reads a message from big brother, “Poles are for safety, not your latest routine. Hold the pole, not our attention. A subway car is no place for showtime.”

What do you say now, Lo? Give your sermon from the ranch.

I sit on the front porch and watch my nephew frolic in his Polo Ralph Lauren, polo shirt. He’ll never learn the sport, but my, is he athletic and willing to praise at the altar Lo. Offering you his mercy to max out. I offer you my hand and you ask me where is my dollar. Produce more pink pima cottons with aquatic blue polo players as the sport represents me well. The classic is upon us and the pink should match the blush on their faces. Will you have them blush from phenomena not derived from lush, witty professions and exposed lusts? Lo, what now do you speak of your flock? Daddy got shot and John Hopkins didn’t do it. They acquired the land his charred body laid upon only to raise new buildings in his wake.

It can be problematic having money. Luckily I don’t have any, or rather, I don’t have much for too long a day. Lo and behold all you’ve ever done was teach me a better way to consume you. Blind my eyes with your stallion. Lo is God as Lo has never let his face be shown, Lo is God as Lo’s benefits exist as myth. I buy you Lo to look beyond on the first day of school, Easter, the birthdays. I wear a rainbow of you all clad in contrasting horse; I ride the MTA emblazoned with your breed’s appeal. See me in Lo! Aren’t I exact, aren’t I absolute?

We are a water people buoyed in this salty waved stew. Green brown, grey brown from the Northeast the sun wonders. Hands splayed we flounder confidently in between the crash of wave, waves again and I rise from

asunder to thank the sun that kisses my back. It is time to display happiness in thanks if you’d allow yourself to be comforted under the blanket of a glaring sunny sky, to dance wrapped in silky sheets of water and pamper your toe on the eroding seafloor. I move back and then forward up and freely down, at times thrown into the quicksand. I am your daughter, you bore and lead me back to you summer in, summer out. I am lead deeper in. The sky as blanket warms a warning. I long for a bigger you. My body bends into a ball and rolls under as you rush over me, and I pierce you as I stand. I jump over not to conquer but in wait of your next Piza leaning tower wall to indeed fall upon me. I submit now, again, and then I succumb. Look at all the arms spread wide above the ocean’s surface. They melt and glide atop like oil on water. Face to the ethers, before us your next wake is constructed gathering fruits from the departing tide it now pushes to its limit. The swell bursts with steam going full speed to heaven. You plead and to earth you bellow a belly flop. I’m barefoot in you, I enter you to praise. Sitting next to you, I hear your whispers of benign notes on too many scandals as they blow over me.