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kramer & kathryn scanlan – vagrants lyrics



when we had no money, we’d get in our car
and if it started and had gas enough
we’d drive until we came to streets unlike the one we lived on
where we’d creep along and gawk at the splendid order of affluence
we rolled the windows down to lean like dogs into the open air, so fresh there
we waved at all who passed
the wealthy are naturally suspicious and seldom waved back
but wе didn’t grudge them
so long as we wеre gazing ourselves full on their bounty

i’d call out the houses that suited me
but he often found my choices too provincial
if my mood was raw, i’d take offense
then quarrel with whatever else he said or sink into a silent sulk
in this way, i believe the experience closely resembled house shopping in earnest
though i can’t say for certain, as i’ve never had more than the rent that comes due so often
how quickly a month passes, it never fails to startle

but sometimes we agreed
on that rare occasion, we’d pull to the curb to admire our decision
a sound investment with a great deal of potential
the landscaping, for instance, left much to be desired
but that we could work on together
digging holes and filling them, that was something we could do
as we sat looking from the curb
the interior of the house we’d chosen would take shape in our heads

mine would be empty, stripped to the subfloor
with sunlight falling unimpeded through bare, blindless windows
what i craved was an echo
but his?
how long were his halls, how wide his rooms?
what was the feel of his banister beneath a sliding hand?

if the weather was right, our moods expansive
we would come by cautious conversation to conclude
that two houses might be best
that way, if we tired of one, we might leave it a while
the thought of that, the sp+ce of it, would fill our small car
if we tired of one, another

oh, but the work, it could drag on for years
mornings, we’d attempt toast amongst flaked paint
every surface dusted with the fine white powder of demolition
we’d endure the chaos of shadeless table lamps, tarped furniture
functionless plumbing, plastic forks
clutching some foam box of gluey takeout
we’d huddle the television set like tramps at a barrel fire
vagrants as ever
we lived like peasants in our one+room apartment
stepping over each other to get to the toilet
left for days on the line in the sun, our grimed sheets never whitened
in the refrigerator were some turnips, in the cupboard a handful of rice
you can think of it as a game if you like
the sort enjoyed by hobbyists who assemble to reenact great battles
in which many lives were lost and limbs, too, sawn from their owners awake

there was a small windfall once
but we spent it on whiskey and purple+skinned nectarines
and steaks in soft sacks of blue blood
and some pretty plates for eating on that since have broken, all

i made a halting half+moon ridge of them in our patch of dirt
for what purpose?
none but to remember how we ate once, no longer

when we returned at last to the sun+dappled street, the tidy curb
our car seemed shabbier
and the lawns beyond looked remote and ridiculously green

he was usually the one to drive
i could tell by the way he shifted the car into gear that we were done for the day
he’d steer us through light and shade, away
his tolerance for looking at the unattainable was so much lower than mine
which felt boundless, untested
it was the only thing i wanted to see