Do pictures of flowers remind you of home?
Polaroid self-portraits, Benjamin Green,
Andy Warhol, Patti Smith á la Dürer—
and Portfolio X on an NEA
to make you and your bullwhip une cause célèbre,
the kind of nonsense everyone thinks they want.
And how strange in 1988, your HIV announced,
to watch your photographs sell:
a half-million each like you were already dead.
So by 1997, and pulled out of the University
library, I'm sure you had the routine.
Anyway, I doubt you would have cared what
some policeman in Birmingham had to say.
You could call that freedom, I suppose,
the way you worked, that fuck you attitude.
I'm getting there, myself. I can feel it happen,
sometimes, when my mother calls and asks
how I'm doing, or when I'm telling a story
and I almost change my date into “my friend”
because it's easier, or seems to be.
If it is freedom, it's a kind like in
that Kris Kristofferson song, where you're
so broken down you have to start making
things to believe in. You believed in
flowers. I guess I do too, and in birds.
Jared Sinclair is in the process of finishing his undergraduate degree in creative writing at the College of Charleston. One day he might go to graduate school. Most of his work is done while sitting on the fountain at the corner of King and Calhoun.