from Philadelphia (Freedom Song)



New city same shit
Moving through
the streets
pre-fall golden
in late afternoon
sunlight / bright red
crumbling brick
& shoddy graffiti
asks freedom?
Each year I fight
& each year
the things that hold
me back feel stronger
Shirking the day’s
responsibilities
to sit by the river
this afternoon
I wouldn’t give this
up but no it’s not
freedom

*

I thought
I could find
freedom in
a book
but I was wrong
Now it’s the dream
of the road
to go & never
stop / Now it’s
the moment
at the end of
the work day
when I take off
my dress

*

Summer
heat thick
as streetlight
shines in
the kitchen window
where I dance
to old soul songs
The love I feel
is not a freedom
from pain
It allows me
to better feel
pain / I love
the pain
the pain in these
old songs
the pain I feel
at night

*

There is
no breeze
I do not
put myself
forward / I am
just here
walking down
the sidewalk
refusing
to make sense
of things
that can’t be
made sense of
& appreciating
my insignificance
She said it was
when she knew
she wasn’t special
that she could
write poems
A lot of people
want to be
somebody
I just want
to get through
the day

*

In America
they shoot kids
in the street
In Ferguson
journalists
are told they’re
endangering
their lives
by being there
Others are
endangering
their lives
simply by being
alive / This
declared
no fly zone
guarantees
no aerial news
coverage
The militarized
police free
to do whatever
I don’t know
how we go on
Maybe we don’t

*

What do you do
when the news
makes you sick,
when living feels
impossible
everyday passing
the graffiti
that asks, freedom?

*

Hey baby
come sit on
my lap / Why
don’t you smile
Oow I could
get me some
of that
You got a
boyfriend
Bitch, you know
you want it
Dumb cunt

*

If I live longer
I can pay down
some more debt
If I live longer
I can accrue
some more debt
It’s okay to not
know how to be
happy / The residents
of Detroit go
without water
as I watch the
automatic  sprinklers
run in the rain
Once at the bar
a guy showed me
a video of a woman
pushing gummy
worms out of her
vagina / I think
he was coming
onto me / We had
very different views
He said, Obama
can take his guns
from his cold
dead hands
I went dead space
& thought about
gummy worms

*

My new boss
likes my tattoos
This week
I walked
into a bar &
everyone there
knew my name
I don’t have to kiss
every guy I spend
an evening
talking with
but I can
if I want to
I know it’s dumb
to say but the Tigers
are breaking my heart
It happens each fall
My boss asked me
what tattoo I’ll get
when I leave
Philadelphia
I’ve lived here
one month but
she already knows
I’ll leave
If I don’t
keep moving
I’ll die

*

I don’t want
to hear it
if I can’t dance
to it
Stevie sings
you can feel
it all over
& it’s joyful
& the joy takes
me & I feel it
all over

*

Fall comes
& reassures me
with its Sunday
rituals / He said
freedom would be
being able to swim
in any body
of water
clean, free of
pollution—
to be able to
reach your hands
in the river
& take a drink
I said, tonight
I’m going to listen
to every sad song
ever / This will
take me the rest
of my life
Sam sings,
bring it on home
to me


Contributor

Gina Myers

GINA MYERS is the author of A Model Year and Hold It Down, both published by Coconut Books.

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