Roland (TR-808) Park
St Timothy’s School
Anything you can write I can scream better.
If we were to meet again, would you know me, or would you invent my soul
and accuse me of it? As if the two were synonyms?
Or would I? I stumble over all of your pseudonyms
I’m not sure if I’m remembering you right
Not sure if you’re remembering me at all
Iʼm still keeping the faith, keep on pretending youʼre the same pair of hands
that you were when we met. Imagine my surprise, looking up
to see the eye of the storm winking at me
Yeah, real North Baltimore rhapsody
I think I wouldʼve loved to see my life last year as you did
I think I would’ve loved to not be me
I think things look better when you’re 18
But I followed your footsteps, in the wrong shoe size
gone by next September
You ran away, and the grass never faltered beneath you
And now you wake to the Pacific’s foreign speech
Now you turn toward an ocean I have never seen
Whatʼs lost will not be found.
I remember the day my best friend got 302ed
I remember the day we all threw my wrist watch from the roof of the bank
in Roland Park, and Ginsberg was
fucking right, alarm clocks are falling on our heads
for the next decade. One year down.
I remember the day I started crying in the lunch line,
cause my friend told me youʼre not unknowable, you know.
I remember the night I swing-danced on a school roof with a good old-fashioned
self-made martyr who cried and cried but never said anything I remember for very long
I remember the night we all read poetry in the graffiti tunnel,
Whitman and Keaton St. James.
I remember the night I kissed someone who wasnʼt you
against a wall at 2am in my best friendʼs rotting bathroom
and then I clutched my stomach, awake in dark hallways, because it wasn’t you,
But it was you behind my eyes. Again again again.
I remember the night, after a party, when it was too late for anyone to get a
ride home but nobody cared, not at all,
because the people we loved most in the world were right there in front of our faces
and Anna was wearing gray boxers, and we only figured out how to work one of
the scavenged blow-up mattresses
and we all eventually collapsed into each other’s arms,
like one great Hundred-Handed One of youth
This is the essay that tells me
you might have been right to leave this place, but I was not.
Because I miss my friends’ ruddy cheeks, our easy laughter, our easy joy
I remember so much light. My pupils are pinpricks forever, waiting for it to come again
I was born in these days.
I am made of these hours.
I remember, therefore I am
Sometimes Iʼm worried that Iʼm living in a post et cetera era,
that the past will never stay put. That itʼll just keep
tracing my shadowʼs footsteps.
Except you, though: very firmly existing in the past, and even that is a lie.
People canʼt live in the past,
only their ghosts. But
itʼs much more terrifying to think of you existing
in right now, growing and gnarling into someone my
thoughts would just wash over instead of snatching on, a stranger on the 52 bus
You told me Iʼm long gone before you even packed your backpack,
and from my despair I scavenge a cruel hope: whatʼs lost
will not be found
Iʼve met enough young cacophonies to know that there
are places in this world of mine, where people like you
arenʼt called strange by my baseball team while weʼre playing catch,
places where I can fall asleep and not think
(I dreamt of the end of the world, and you you you you you,
every night for a month after you left)
The world is big enough for the future
Boy, Iʼve met gods braver than you, and Iʼve swallowed them whole
Iʼm 16 years a warring body, 16 years a loving body,
16 years a singing, weeping body,
We’re both long gone, but I take all of you with me
As I take my heart, the white scar on my ankle
As I take myself
As I take my love
It's fabulous and it's messy and it’s disjointed and gripping and full of raw, indomitable feeling. I still don't get some of it, but that's feels okay, too.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ryan Taylor writes during the ungodly morning hours, in a small room with many books. Sometimes the words are Latin. Ryan is a current student of St Timothy’s School in Stevenson, Maryland (graduation year 2021), and a lover of everything called beautiful (even when it hurts).