The day we moved into our little quad on the bottom floor of an art deco building, the
first thing we unpacked was the turntable and speakers, the three-foot tall suckers you’d
inherited from your parents, which doubled as end tables for the two years we spent
there. I draped them in white lace, topped each with a red glitter candelabra, and
vintage ashtrays. We unrolled a kilim rug to sleep on. We ate tofu in black pepper sauce
on the floor and talked about what to do with the screened in porch. Everyone else had
string lights, but we could tell by the shade of their twinkle and size of their bulbs, we
were different. These people had charcoal grills and kid toys and colorful hammocks.
These people voted for W. You could tell by the pinwheels and sports flags and waxed
cars with Don’t Tread on Me stickers. Let’s hang red lights. Let’s hang no lights. Let’s
put a mattress on the concrete and line it with saint candles and suspend a hundred
marionettes from the ceiling. While I scooped the last bit of mushroom and rice from
the bottom of the carton, you swapped the record. As you returned to me on the floor,
you tapped my head, saying you’re it. I screamed the first verse and you joined me for
the rest of the album, jumping and flailing our arms like fools until our bodies tingled
and the republicans upstairs blasted that song from Titanic in protest.
Jim Warner's poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, New South, and is the author of two collections (PaperKite Press). His latest book, actual miles, will be released in 2017 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University's MFA program.