12 Years Old - 2 A.M.

at 12 years old,
i liked to slip out my bedroom window,
and sneak into the night with my friends,
along with the the fireflies, the cicadas, the distant trains,
and the constant kazoo hum of the brushed metal street lights.
we'd escape and hop backyard fences to nowhere.
we'd slide past rusted bar-b-que grills,
tripping over broken, plastic toys,
while weaving around the sleeves, the pockets, the alleys,
and the private shadows
of strange suburban homes.
the houses were always deep crimson or pale grey.
and the concrete under our bare feet was always cool,
even during the dead of summer.
what a thrill it was to explore the
forbidden silence of the neighborhood.

to cut the night open with a knife, for the first time.
we'd run from the dogs,
squirrel away,
and duck into manicured bushes and alleyways,
avoiding the watchful beams of
passing automobiles and
all the bedroom lights 
our voices disturbed.

"we must never be caught.
or we will most certainly be killed."
talking mostly about girls and guns,
we'd zig-zag to the edge of the edition,
where the light fell off the map,
and cross the barrier between captivity and freedom
deep into moonlit fields of undeveloped land.
that place where the houses had yet to feast.
that place where only the black, the blue, and the faded yellow grass
brushed the wind.
that place where terror and anticipation, lived
there, we'd follow the gamut of unnamed virgin roads,
freshly paved with soft black tar.
-empty veins, waiting for homes-
we'd ride our bikes down those new roads with no hands,
until they bent and curved to the edge of the creek,
and eventually died into dirt.
and there past the telephone polls and tangled mess of barbed wire
we'd explore tired, old barns
with grey wood
and ancient hay,
and we'd climb up into their lofts
and we'd end up spending years there.