On the eve of Phoenix’ 23rd birthday, we sing,
all the furniture pushed up against the
balloon-adorned walls of their living room,
the New York kind, compact, quaint
a broker might say when he is trying to sell
this fantasy. Forget the cockroaches, the skyrocketing rent,
the crumbling infrastructure of a city committed to
capital above its people. Can you imagine it?
A little Monstera over there in the corner. A hanging
pothos right above our heads, devil’s ivy they call it.
I’ve always wanted to move to New York,
my father confesses again over the phone. I should
find more empathy for the man, and call home more
often, but tonight I am too engrossed with the
overhead lights, dimmed purples and blues and reds,
how pious Joel is in his performance of Nicki,
hands laced over the salt-shaker mic, kneeling
on uncarpeted floors in a different prayer, eyes
shut, throat wide open towards the moon.
This is a whole-body ordeal, you see. Being
in your body. Imagine this whole-bodied-ness is not
a prayer I make daily. Imagine not everyone
is trying to sell something. Imagine the city
and its people. Cockroaches, the lot of us,
on our knees, singing. Our throats wide open. Alive.