Aesthetic Discovery (#2 of 3)

This one was triggered by Facebook’s thrusting upon me of information about people I barely know.

Probably for the first time in my life I felt nostalgia for suburbia – suburbia itself rather than some of the things my personal experience in suburbia happened to contain. There’s something very satisfying, in an barren kind of way, about one specific kind of suburban scene. This photo articulated it to me:

girl in a concrete playground

Endless paving, empty sky, a block of barren building, and a playground. It’s a parking-lot infinity pool. I don’t even know if I’ve experienced exactly this, can I be nostalgic about things that haven’t happened? I have a mental image of the end of autumn, dry and windy. It’s an industrial, minimalist counterpart of many natural scenes. No detailed shapes, no flora rustling. Just flat lines. You could all sit on some concrete and do nothing. Shadows that are long and un-interrupted. The only other company is cars passing by, and they barely exist. Sounds don’t echo, they vanish.

I guess it feels like a blank canvas. A lot of fun things in my life have happened in very, very boring places. Suburban backdrops serve pretty well.

Cajun Shrimp

Rain still slicks your face while
Philadelphia colors receding clouds
a mellow urban purple,
and puddles on the road glow ragged
ginger in the street lamps.
Alternating lights of the PED XING sign
throw our shadows back and forth.
Far-off headlights sweep across the wilting.

You off into the dorm and I quest for ice cream,
but I’m not quite sure where I’m going, and, worse,
I don’t know which flavor is our favorite.
My snow-crunching footsteps seem to precede me,
and I find tiny, overwrought poems in ice cream names.
We might die, but “Black Fudge Overdose” sounds delightful.

Room reorganized while I was out:
you’ve made a cocoon between bed and wall
with mattress on the floor;
white sheets ceiling held up by thumb tacks.
The moved bed exposes that colorful stash of bottles,
and your sobriety is in question.
Cajun shrimp is the best color, you’ve decided.
You walk with a beautiful stagger,
see pink when you close your eyes.

There we were in the middle of the room,
your hair swaying above me.