It’s a strange place to be, down on the dirty Boulevard.
The rhythm here is different. The odors immediately assault, amidst the backdrop of a roasted Ingham County heatwave. The sounds of arguments and congestion bounce off asphalt more holes than lanes. In a grimy neighborhood buoyed by endless substance abuse, all the senses meld into a single song of disenfranchisement.
It is the urban backing track of the damned, barely heard above the rush of pollution.
It is a place populated with scratchers and tall boys, tight pre–rolls and loose hood girls. With no other avenues available to those condemned to a Boulevard existence, the corner store serves as the only lifeline of civility. And even that survives only behind swiveling bulletproof glass.
But, it’s a place to hang out. Or buy bad decisions. Either from the bottom shelf, or the shatterproof case of silvered pipedreams. Even though you promised yourself that you wouldn’t. Since you can’t really afford it. But it’s not the first time giving a financial squeezer to Peter because you’ve already burned out with Paul.
And, it probably won’t be the last. Because when you’ve run out of cash, it becomes easy to pawn your dignity.
What the fuck else are you going to do with it?
The monochromatic banality of it all makes me miss green.
The only green I’ve found here springs from little pouches legally purchased from an exuberant, dreadlocked figure espousing the many benefits of different strains. But it’s never quite strong enough to cover the underlying stains of black decay.
The green of currency remains stubbornly scarce, despite nights filled with honest labour. Trying to earn the right to Clinton County citizenship every pay period. Stretching budgets until they snap back into tins of cold canned cuisine. Scrimping and manipulating, just to get through. Because payday is always too many fucking meals away.
The hunger of that hustle is exhausting. And leaves me starving.
It makes me miss the green lowland of a Michigan meadow. And the verdant hills of an expatriated Ireland. Two scenes literally worlds apart; the only two places that ever felt remotely like home.
But even that was fleeting. Just a temporary reminder of a tantalizing taste. The memory of which clutters a mind baked hard under a hot Michigan sun.
I miss the simple refreshment of green.
I wish that it would fucking rain.
It’s a strange place to be, down here along the hot Boulevard. But, it’s the only place that truly welcomes me.
And, I can only hate it in return.