My Shirt is Red

My shirt is red
And it doesn’t cover my tattoos
A forever reminder
Of another time
Another me
1976, The Pike, Long Beach
Sailors, prostitutes, joy rides
And tattoo parlors

My shirt is red
It covers my skin
Thick in some places
Still thin in others
Shaded differences
The European
Conquering the Inca
Always at odds
With myself

My shirt is red
Like blood
Thick with sticky memory
Occasional regret
Living
Moving
Working
Knowing new things
Bewildered by what it sees

My shirt is red
Like the sadness
That befalls every falling sun
The disconnect
That is inevitable
Regeneration
In an animated, lucid
Suspension

My shirt is red
But it is not warm
Until I put it on
Meaningless in the drawer
And
Depending on what happens
While worn
Could be something terrible
Or,
A small catalyst for hope
In a broken world

My shirt is red

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