March 20, 2013 ·
Lawn Chairs in The Sky
I've heard of a man.
With a lawn chair and balloons,
A BB gun and a six pack,
He flew from the earth,
My lawn chair is lawn-less,
It sinks into darkness,
My balloons drop me deeper,
I shoot them in vain,
Why own lawn furniture if you don't own grass?
How dare I dream of my own green carpet,
My outside version of my inside house,
If you've lived in the suburbs,
there will always be a lawn in your heart,
no matter if the grass is dead, or even if you live a million miles from a cul-de sac,
The trash cans outside will always shame you,
A full mail box will never mean you are popular-only that you are slothful.
But I think I'd be the kind of neighbor who'd park his cars on the lawn,
A motorcycle forever broken in the grease stained drive way,
That I would work on endlessly like King Sisyphus,
And in the morning it'd be in pieces again,
I'd barbeque on Monday mornings,
The house would be the scariest on the block
and no one would come to ring the bell
because the sprinklers would be on,
but the house would be decorated anyway,
Soggy pumpkins, sad drowned ghosts and scare-crows,
I'd never wave at my neighbors, I'd just stare at them, tilt my head back and smile.
I'd sing loud Vietnamese and Mandarin songs in the garage as I worked and speak Cherokee to my dogs,
Least I forget how to speak,
I'd never wear a shirt, even in winter, as if a beer belly was strong and sexy and a sign of an educated man in a primitive land,
As if a swollen gut was my way to keep the natives at bay,
As if to say-"Not only am I fat, but I'm hairy too, so stay back you savages! I'm too cheap for tattoos! I've got scars to show you for free!"
The young girls in the neighborhood would avoid my eyes as if looking into them would make them pregnant and turn them into stone,
If the neighbors said "Good Morning" I'd answer, "Perhaps" or "You think so." or "Prove it!" or "Allah Ackbar"
or something else so that they'd never say it again.
the swimming pool, if there was one, would be empty,
but used for skateboarding to very loud hardcore punk music,
I'd silently practice using my nunchakas on the roof at night,
I'd trim all my hedges and trees to resemble the heads of unpopular American presidents,
on the sidewalk out front I'd sketch chalk drawings of the Mendlebrot Set,
I'd make a bird feeder that looked like a buffalo skull,
I'd have a sign on the door saying,
"Attention All Solicitors-You May Enter But You May Not Leave."
At Christmas, the lights strung on my roof would say "S.O.S." or "ALIEN LANDING ZONE" or maybe a few lines from a William Blake poem,
and of course I wouldn't take them down until late April.
On the fourth of July I'd stand on the roof waving a very large white flag,
I'd buy an old ice cream truck and paint it a very tranquil light blue and drive it to work everyday,
I wouldn't sell ice cream or stop for children,
I'd just play Bach fugues or Beethoven's 3rd or Just the sound of the wind or falling water or bird song or over the loud speakers,
I'd sit in my lawn chair in the back yard under the shade of President Nixon's head with a cold beer,
alone but laughing very loudly at it all,
The neighbors would have so many secret nicknames for me they'd argue about it at parties they wouldn't invite me to, they'd call me:
The Ice Cream Man, Mr. Beer Belly, The hill-billy Native guy, the Roof Ninja, that Weirdo at 207, the Muslim guy who drinks beer, that foreigner, Mr. Dead Grass,
the satanic ritual guy who writes on the sidewalk, that communist-homo-art-loving degenerate,
and after a few drinks they'd work up the courage, goaded by the women because
I scare their kids and the old people too and somebody has to
DO SOMETHING RIGHT NOW before it's too late,
and they'd bang on the front door, knocking off my solicitor sign, standing with arms crossed on the dying grass,
trying to peer into the windows past the old Halloween decorations,
and "...wait let Jim get his gun-he's a police officer and... I ought to get my gun too."
and the drunkest and loudest of the men-one whom I had scared the most would shout,
"Come out here now you fucking weirdo! We want to talk with you.! We know you're in there Don't try to hide from us"
and the teenagers would hang back a bit, hoping for a stray piece of flesh, sneering nervously and waiting with their phones recording,
and the women would shriek,
"Get out here now! Now!"
and someone would try to throw the buffalo head through the window but they'd discover it was only made of paper mache and paint,
and someone would try to peer over the side yard fence and scream, "I'll shoot your damn dogs!"
and they'd find the gates locked with combinations I'd have taken from quantum mechanics and they'd scream in frustration,
then they'd pick up the naked motorcycle frame in the drive-way to use to batter down the front door,
And start to scream, "Get out of our neighborhood! Get out of our lives you freak! Go back to where you came from you goddamn drunk Indian satanist!"
And then suddenly, my Christmas lights on the roof with flicker on, and they'll see it's a huge Peace sign, and a moan will go through the crowd,
and some young guy who actually looks good with his shirt off will snarl, "Fucking Hippie!"
and they'll hear my familiar laugh from the back of the house, but a little above,
And I'll be in my lawn chair with my balloons and my dogs in my lap, and a six pack under my arms with a BB gun,
and they'll shout "He's got a gun" but I'll already be out of firing range and sailing upwards into the suburban night,
Laughing and hooting my coyote hoot, "Hooo Hooo"
and the dogs barking,
and me the only one seeing, the one eyed-man in the housing development of the blind,
that the peace sign is no peace sign but a giant target on the roof,
the lawns are not lawns but chess squares, the houses are pieces, the pools are just raindrops,
and in the moonlight below
the suburbs are just a distant shrinking dream.