Independence day sky sing us a fire red hue
with your gospel bass notes intoning glacial
Independence night set our hands hearts and
with the music of fireworks evaporating this thick
It's been ten years today
since I first asked you.
Ten years of waking up
inside you. Ten years.
Do you remember
that sticky July evening
we watched fireworks from
the strip mall parking lot
along the highway?
Independence Day was somehow our
first dependence day and we agreed,
we agreed. We chose to say
we will live here,
together among the loblollies
and the metal sticks that point us
to everywhere else, the signposts
carrying signs that try to remind us
this town is not the only place.
Raleigh, 25 miles. Durham,
12 miles, Chapel Hill, 1 mile.
Some of the signs seem holy,
bullet piercings appearing as if the
wounded DMV signs
were photographed just
before bursting into flame.
It's that hot here in July.
But we discovered why to stick
together, inside each other,
as each other, that is. It had little
to do with the vinyl seat
sticking to us.
That's how some places grow,
in you not on you. The ones that
stay, not go on. 'On you' is
parasitic, a fungus, something to
be rid of like an infection
but 'in you' is
love, a phrase of affection.
As evidence of that growth
I can offer you only
a handshake or
a wave as you pass by in your car,
or simply my helping hand,
We call ourselves
Paris of the Piedmont because
we have a sense of humor. Elsewhere
under this radiant sky we share,
you can get your Freedom Fries.
Here some still call our frites French
and we all relish the right to do so.
So look here at my palm.
In it is me, it is I;
it is a map of you,
it is you. I can no longer
discern where you end
and I begin. You open your hands,
a silent gesture of submission.
Look here, this is
Hillsborough Road, your heart line,
where you hope and grow and dream
freely, under the willow oak
beside the billow of hydrangea; ours
sometimes sky blue when we choose.
Hillsborough meets Greensboro Street,
the brain line, this artery to school,
conducting me to such places as
that apartment on Hanna Street
so many people ago
when you were still here with me
or all those long conversations
about fixing an oppressed world
when the town around us was
working perfectly. Food before
morality. Weaver Street
the life line, of course, without which
I just might not eat.
And this crooked line|
intersecting all of them
is my Main Street, my destiny
line. This line is a
scar, actually. It stems from
when I wrecked my bicycle after
a crooked evening on you.
Main Street, o you I love,
'how do you do,' you say so sweetly,
even if your traffic signals
are so poorly timed. It's all true.
That night, the sky drove
a car in the dark. One headlight
was out, but the other glowed
as a disc of mercury, or
like a spotlight outside some giant auto
dealership in the sky.
I remember you, your car wreck.
Under that moonlight we bled.
The same moonlight,
in the same moonlight,
this place, this Main Street
where I wished a part of you,
some say all of you,
goodbye. Don't go. You must
stay here in this place. Here
at this somewhere where
the heaving charcoal clouds
are bearable, this where we
are able to speak happily
among us, we who are passing
by street or by clock. A home
is where we bear
the yoke of life's misfortunes
yet choose to stay a little longer.
Buoyancy is a wonder for us, we
who live to see we are afloat.
Because something better
is soon within reach, because
the whisper of these 'Carrburra' streets
is, 'we can, we can.' Here is a town
where it is not so important
who we are as separate beings
but as interdependent wrinkles.
folding together on a hand, and
where my end is where you
began. This is the place
where I forget what it is
that distinguishes and separates
me from you, you Carrboro,
you who wishes to infuse
your self among us until
we feel it common for us
to meet upon the streets
of your gentle contradiction
in freedom, hand in hand.