The Air Down South is Thicker Than the Air Up North by Jake Griffith

On an August night like this, It feels like I’m swimming. 

Headlights carve through the velvet air as I drive through Anderson

Searching for the memories I nailed my heart to when I was 16. 

Music leaks out of the rolled down windows

Into the darkness that swallows more than sound 

As the southern air reaches it’s hand down my throat,

Strangling my hopes for a future away from here.

I pray for change, but the voice of home

Whispers in my ear, isn’t the longing for change more addicting?

Can I separate myself from the boy who drove at night

For no other purpose than to say he was going somewhere,

Who thought that if he drove fast enough 

The passing streetlights would blur

& construct skyscrapers of a far off city 

& if he kept going, he could go all the way til the streetlights disappeared

With nothing but black in the rearview mirror, 

& he would look in that empty mirror 

& be foolish enough to think he could walk away from home

Without leaving anything behind.

Can I separate myself from the boy who would go to the woods to bury weed,

Because in the south, you bury what you’re not supposed to want,

& I don’t know if I dug up all I buried,

But I do know the earth below me isn’t hollow,

& a dark mirror isn’t empty

& a home isn’t nothing just because you leave it behind. 

What I’m trying to say is:

The real reason the air is thicker down south, 

Is because along the way

We confused ‘burial’ with ‘change’ enough times

That the air hangs heavy with the weight of the past. 

Bio: Jake Griffith is an actor, writer, and comedian currently living in New York City. He loves exploring memories (both his and others) and finding the mediums that best bring them to life.

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