I wrote this in 2015 and it models after the relatively well-known poem 4th of July at Santa Ynez.
Fourth of July at Faulkland Heights
Under the blue tent canopy
relief from today’s defiant sun.
Chatter winds its way up in background,
cheerful hum made by all the young men
and women playing at their majority.
Wandering apart from the others
as ever, I found Adam in the kitchen
from one pot to another, to a new guest,
to a bottle, to his camera. Last year
he made clams and I drunkenly
stood over them and ate til they were gone.
The year before he didn’t have a party.
Just the four of us found a pool and drank,
repeated the same lines from the movie
TBS always repeats – Independence
Day – and then I left them,
like I always do.
This year I asked Adam for a party.
Last time we were actually face-to-face had to’ve
been December. But we talk sometimes.
We email banter against work boredom.
There have been nights we’ve locked
together, puzzle pieces, how man
and woman do. Those often stretch
far apart. I’ve given him so many chances
but between the two of us some lever clicks.
Our engine sputters. Our belts are loose.
We aren’t good romantic partners.
In my mind I’ve come to the bow
that we don’t know how to talk together. Still.
The afternoon gathers shadows
of its prior selves and those
we haven’t seen yet, too.
Slowly, more slowly, we may learn
how to yoke and pull and turn in step.
Or if we never do no one will weep.
I no longer bother wondering why Adam
continues to reach for me. Maybe
we’ll be ready and the whole work
will snap in place but if not, in
the meantime, I will come and spend
a couple hours or an afternoon each year
he invites me (he personally) commemorating
the only ritual we have, the only anniversary.
It’s largely innocent.
I love repeating memory.
Of course, it would be ours,