Houston airport, 12:07 pm, March 19 2001

I am watching your private moment, Houston airport.

Two lovers embrace
on the strip between one gate and another
oblivious and happy

of course the down syndrome boy
came and sat next to me
fifteen open seats to my right and left

animals, children, the insane and the retarded
nearly guaranteed to be drawn to me

so tired
actually enacted the cliché –
literally can’t keep my eyes open
nodding out

Returning from Austin and a thousand bands in five days –
the SXSW  music festival –
an exercise in debauchery and sport –
running from venue to venue to further overload the senses.

bonfire dust
beer sweat
and cat hair
my bouquet

Rimbaud was fond of being dirty –
fond of hosting lice
for the express purpose
of flicking the beasties at Catholic priests

I am unclean today,
but it is my testament to survival and adventure.

a toddler to my right
took magic  steps  toward a young man –
the mother’s mouth agape –
you could see her beaming at the man thinking:
“He must have an attractive aura. Some kind of magnetism”

the furthest he ever walked she said.

but in fact the infant was drawn
to his brightly colored drink on the floor.

and isn’t that just how it is?

The down syndrome boy – a husky 11 –
and his mother are gone from this window of time,
off in search of something sweet.

the mother was kind-
didn’t  protest when he plunked down next to dirty me
when the rest of the family was seated elsewhere
she just joined him and asked
if he would like to get a snack.

To my left is a mother
and two young towheaded siblings, boy and girl
maybe four and three, respectively.

Earlier the girl said unprompted and with conviction:
“ I almost got eaten”

and I must say
that is how I feel exactly, Houston.

I feel like the detritus
next to the mountain
that mocks it and its seeming impenetrability

I just remembered something the mother of the siblings said:

“I don’t even think that is funny”



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