Thursday, March 27, 2014

we were probably the only family

washing the kids' jeans in the bathtub
one day shy of payday in simi valley california
two thirds of a salary going to rent & utilities
but close enough to bike to work
     and a damn good thing

we loaded a fiberglass canoe     bicycles
     the kids' beds and no furniture
     into a supercab pickup
made the trip from northern minnesota
to the san fernando valley and then over the mountain
     into ventura county
          just to find other families living in cars
               and picking through trash bins
but those beautiful tan bodies on the beach
     sure could fool ya

my oldest boy spent hours
     in an empty bedroom with a guitar
     making sun baked middle class blues licks
alone but juxtaposed
with the television generation millions

the next son read almost all the ray bradberry books
     all the science and chemistry he could take in
     creating a room full of maps & procedures
          a labyrinth of logical fantasy

the twins sean and neil ended up being
     the most social among us
     bringing over the neighbor kids
     to build a fort in the rocks      cactus
     ledges with black widows behind the house
     telling them that our furniture was
          coming soon
     when they peeked in
     at empty walls

those california freeways weren't free at all
     we packed it all in after a year
retraced the road back to the minnesota woods
just in time to smell the last hay cuttings of august
          and a lake superior thunderstorm

--- e b bortz

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