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strong love grows / you grow up slow

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i

you wake early every day. you can’t help it, even when you’re so tired every grain of stardust in you is begging. you’re begging for something, too. but no matter where you are, no matter what identical motel, you have to see the sky. life is slow, so you have to move fast. or is it the opposite? you can’t remember. plunge into the freezing water, choke in the smoky air. everywhere you go is alive, even in among the fluorescent plastic and gasoline fog. a life like this ensures you never have to dream, it’s just darkness of the edge of the world, then colour on the side of the road. like flipping a switch, he’s flipping a script. but even when you don’t dream, you dream. you start to picture a little house that the government doesn’t know about. sometimes he’s there, sometimes he’s not.

ii

you start to make lists of who would care if you died, but then you stop because the answer’s about as short as tapping on a window with a smile on his face. so you just keep running into the passenger side. it’s time to take the wheel. you hear crickets when he pushes you away, and hummingbirds when you orbit back around. there’s nowhere to go so you let the sky and it’s everything swallow you up. time goes fast, time goes slow, you adjust the dial away from the static. the world is sweet like honey, the acid in your eyes is sweet like honey, his mouth is sweet like honey. dollar bills in your back pocket, you stay quiet and watch the fight.

iii

your life is sprawling out on all sides, you see what’s left behind of you in flickering refrigerators and the midwestern sky as the world moves from dusk to night. it’s in the submerging that you begin to breathe, it’s below the moon and on top of cool leather that you can finally consider loving. standing on hot concrete, letting the heat pour out. you watch shimmers of a mirage stumble like a party girl through smoothly automatic doors. you ponder fabric, hanging still in the sky, a watchful father over all of us, a demand for a dead room slowdance, and ripped, stained, cheap that’s guaranteed to coax change. warm to the touch.

iv

you start to breathe easier every mile the van lurches forward. you wander through every street, the pavement all feels the same and you’re oddly comforted by it. his lies are like smoke, her anger is spiders crawling over you while you watch her sleepwalk. so you tell the truth, different truths for different neighbourhoods. you’re tired of the manicured lawns and roads no one ever drives down, and you’re tired of traffic and rickety railings. you don’t know who you’re gonna be tomorrow, you just want to feel the grass and the trees and the rain and the sky, and love every soul that flies past your eyes in the darkness. in fireworks, pain scabs over. in darkness of the water, pain flows free and safe.

v

eventually, you reach the end of the line, fall off the cliff into screaming and running. when you hit the ground your bones will break, but right now, oh the falling is so glorious. like a shot of mezcal, like a solo wolf howl. and this is america, and you can survive on nothing. and the summer is honey, and the languid life will raise you up.