What Is Fall?
Fall: a brick being thrown into a TV behind a bar, bursting the picture tube and making a white flash. We all laugh.
Porch smoking at the house on Camp, the roommate’s bedroom walls plastered with pornography: life sized vaginas everywhere.
School’s start, walking into the smell of the sour stale of it after the summer.
Fall: in the back of the class during chemistry, joking about sex I hadn’t had yet.
Underage and they won’t let me in the bar this time. I sulk and go home, mad at the friend who ditched me when she got in. I stew, alone, angry that no one wants to hang out with me.
Fall: I want rough hands that aren’t yours all over me. I don’t know anything about them, but that they’re not yours.
Waiting for the bus. The bright colors of the fallen leaves make the grass look greener. The slickness the fog’s left makes the tree trunks glimmer in a dull slimy way.
Lugging my saxophone around again for band. It knocks against my leg when I walk to and from the bus and down the hall.
Long lazy afternoons and nights, drinking, riding around in a cab.
A man inside and on me, cold corners of my body where the blankets have shifted, muted noon light through high windows.
Fall: walking through the city streets while my brains are percolating, spitting hot thoughts and making up reasons I’m alive, messages revealing themselves in figures hidden in the wood grain of a telephone pole, obvious to anyone who knows how to look for them.
Painting my face like a skull on Halloween and scaring passing children walking down the street.
Hard cider in the alley and gripping a hard ass muscle.
The crunch of leaves and the fungal smell of the inside of a pumpkin.
Protesting the war with a sandwich board sign. On one side is a painted utility knife that says “Weapon of Mass Destruction.” On the other hang two dolls painted to look burnt-black and bloody. “Liberated Iraqui Babies,” it reads.
Muscle against me with the world at arm’s length.
The smell of the inside of a lunch box, the rotten smell even fresh fruit makes and the yeasty burst of the sandwich bread upon opening the bag.
Fall: my breast is cupped for the first time behind a movie theater, the cold wind delicious on my collarbone.
By the cube at Union Square, I yearn for something I can never have while the world moves fast around my bewildered mind, breaking with reality for the first time.
The tang of new cardboard boxes and fresh paint.
Fall: the soft sound of rain on wet leaves.
A pint of cider in a bar with strangers before getting on the road to meet who I thought was fate.
Raking the big yard, the inside of my nostrils caked with pulverized leaf, with a sore throat and puberty’s rude shadow invading everything.
The bite of winter creeping in under my collar and the jingle of the buckle on my jacket.
Making music with friends, liberated and drunk, letting intuition make me scream.
Fall: as seen through the windows of the state hospital’s cafeteria, the lawn, only slightly less green, and the flags whipping in the high wind under a grey sky.