I Tried to Forget You

(The City I Called Home)

By. Eden S. Quire

I tried to forget you.

The bright lights of your smile, the hot stickiness of your laughter in the summer time;

The eclectic burrows of your mind, and the welcoming assurances of your arms. I tried to forget it all.

But a faded, dogeared picture of your skyline is emblazoned on the mantel of my mind’s eye.

Filling me with nostalgia, consuming my subconscious like wildfire.

 

I tried to forget you.

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Dismissing the purest expression of my being

And instead reminding myself of the dark alleys and dilapidated buildings

The sting of hitting the pavement while running wild in the streets, self-serving politicians, & high crime rates, because it was easier that way.

But then memories would seep in of the views from your bluffs as the sun shined down on my face; and

Toasts to lifetime friendships, with hip-hop and R&B soul soundtracks created nirvana.

But I dare not dwell there, and instead remember…

The detours to avoid dark roads, back alleys, ice storms, and sweltering heat

The poverty in communication, the hopelessness in your silence

A cloak of unintentional invisibility that made me question everything.

 

I tried to forget you

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I had to pack up pieces of myself and move on,

Stopping by the cemetery where I buried you and my feelings and then hitting that stretch of highway that leads to cities unknown.

Putting the pedal to the metal,

No looking in the rear view

Losing sight of what I thought I knew.

At least that’s what I told myself.

 

As I tried to forget you

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Oh how I longed to be normal again,

that moment right before I crossed into your city limits kind of normal.

But I could never go back to that time,

There’s no blotting out the past.

Like red wine on Sunday whites, it stains.

A constant reminder of what was.

And since then, the skyline has changed tremendously

Experiences have changed landscapes, like water rushing over or through anything,

Time has had its way with us.

And though the foundations have sustained, things are just different.

 

And so I tried to forget you.

The saying is, you can always go home,

But the truth of the matter is, sometimes home doesn’t welcome you with open arms.

Home isn’t always that place of refuge ‘cause home has issues of its own.  

The perfectly manicured lawns and porch swings with ice cold lemonade,

Now surrounded by concrete walls, with barbed wire fences, spotlights glaring, homes with chipped paint, and boarded windows.  

Sometimes the very condition of home makes you question if you ever really lived there.

Standing on the outside looking in, ready to destroy barriers because you want to know if that tree still has your name carved in it, if kids still crack jokes and rap while waiting at the bus stop, if the neighbor’s crazy dog still barks at passersby.  

And you’re suddenly hopeful that faith and some elbow grease could really make a difference.

So you lift your sledge hammer ready to bring down the first blow, but then you remember that the other side is stockpiled with more bricks and mortar to fill in any holes you make.

 

And so I tried to forget you.

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Sometimes, I long to see how the old neighborhood has changed.

It’s revitalizations, interior renovations, and urban renewal

Because no matter where I ultimately put down roots, the old neighborhood will always be home.

I believe in redemption. Even the most run down areas can have new life breathed into them.

Granted in some cases you have to start from scratch and rebuild from the ground up, but other times the foundations and shells are strong enough to withstand time.  

But everyone doesn’t think like me, feel like me, and won’t see the vision,

Instead they build new homes, in new neighborhoods, with white picket fences.

So I try to forget you

But even when I try to forget…

I can't help but remember, because a faded, dogeared picture of your skyline is emblazoned on the mantel of my mind’s eye

 


Poem submitted by Eden S. Squire

Photos by Invert The World