At start of each month in 2012, we're featuring an original work from Berkeley poet Al Young. Today it's a poem in two parts, aptly titled "Two Septembers."
He'd been her lover, her tutor, her savior, her guide. Side by side, the night before, they'd hugged on the posh, new bed in a big mostly empty Village flat she'd found for them to move into together. No more trading worlds. Now web exec and master chef could walk to work if they wished. Then -- sip by sip, puff by puff, and pricey pill by pill -- her biggest wish grew therapies and whopping doctor bills. She wanted time to stop and wind him back. On her little brother's tip, she acted fast. Flew west to land herself a sweet executive chef slot in foodie-rich L.A. She made new friends; they shared each others' blues. September sticks, refueling her with tears. But never enough to snuff the smell, the smoke, the tender catch at the throat; her migraine-deep desire to die just like her lover: in a slick, sick, go-for-broke, grand-slam hoodunit still stubbornly, heartbreakingly unsolved.
On wobbly tiers of black plastic trash bags, his ancient laptop leans. Chipped, funky, scarred and scratched -- it's all he needs for now. Positioned outside a stark Gilroy McDonald's, he can pick up enough of a wi-fi wave, wake just enough with an any-size coffee, check enough email and Facebook and YouTube to still feel close enough to summer and its dawning sun to maybe reach fall half-full.
(c) 2012 Al Young