Austin, you’re breaking my heart,
with your too cool attitude.
You’re becoming that boy from high school,
the slicked-back, smoke-sleeved, dreamy-eyed boy,
who dreamed of
throwing the pig skin.
The boy who sat in the back of the class,
Who knew every answer.
We met, we danced,
we did way too many drugs,
then you showed your true colors;
conformity clothed in a leather jacket.
Dressed in bike trails and rescued dogs,
buttoned up in pretension and skyscrapers,
your condos clogging your mouth,
Veneers hiding your once crooked beauty.
I miss the boy I fell for,
Speaking poetry in drum circles,
inhaling orthodoxy while spewing disobedience,
wearing weirdness as badge on your acquiescence.
There was a time when we exalted on the flats of Campbell’s hole,
Sacred movements filling the belly of the springs,
Psychedelic rejoicing in the heartbeat of the full moon,
Draped in the warmth of a stranger’s greeting.
There was beauty here.
There were truths unlocked in Bouldin Sunday morning crosswords,
Elevation of heartbreak on Ruta’s stage,
Deep, lasting bonds grown in the Hideout.
But you’ve changed,
Become new in the maturity of your age.
Gone are the urgings of spring,
an aged Roquefort whose smell turns your stomach,
but dries your mouth.
Growing toll roads and development,
You wear gentrification as a second skin,
No thought to the image you now present being so at odds with your soul.
You’ve sold yourself to progress,
your humanity slipping in the slick corporations banking your holy places.
Still and quiet in the depths of your eyes,
an acceptance of growth and tiny rebellions.
We still meet,
Still honor and laud the reverence of our histories.
We love and uphold when we gather, create.
Yeah, Austin, you’re breaking my heart,
And I thank you for that.
2 thoughts on “Dear Austin”
For me, forever frozen in 2006. But how could it not have changed since then? Love your ‘boy from high school’ metaphor. 🙂
City or boy or me, you have me remembering my hippy days of anti-war action and poetry when I thought I wouldn’t live past thirty and didn’t need to think about family or children or retirement. I love beyond reason the image “an aged Roquefort whose smell turns your stomach” and so many more. I love that the holy places prevail, and the ending left me moved and thoughtful. Great thanks to Rosemary for leading me here and to you for your poems. My best friend lives in Austin. I will send her your poem.