Thursday, March 23, 2017

Sis boom bah 

As a little then bigger boy 
I lived in an apartment
(roach-brown walls, overhead lighting)
with some woman I didn’t know
(she had a name tag—
Hello! My name is  your mother.)
and the apartment felt like the waiting room
to a dental office
(screaming in the next room). 

I couldn't get air inside my dirty plastic bag 
of worrying but I was dreaming, trying 
to see the rosy, musical, merchant ivory mansions of England
in the tv dinner, laugh track, garden apartments of Kansas. 
Dreaming, worrying—life and the future were both
vague, but—there were facts. 

I could see the high school football field from 
our apartment through dusty white lace curtains
(getting roach-brown and greasy, lacy snares for roaches) 
and I knew I could catch touchdown passes
from myself, after playing catch with myself
in the nursing home parking lot, waving!
at Grandma in there.

So, I tried out
got on the team
there was an hour between
school's out and team practice,
so, the apartment being convenient
and me worried about playing football
with other people
and me already into the   your mother  Sherry
I'd go home first, drink a six pack of Budweiser,
go to practice.

No one knew or smelled this for awhile,
I ran fast because I was thin and terrified
I made a touchdown that won a big game
and broke my nose (I ran into the goal post, even
the perfumed pom pom girls loved me that night!),
but by the Homecoming Game, I was drinking
two sixes
before practice
and sort of wandering into the locker room.

Coach Taylor, ex and always U.S. Marine
kicked me off the team in front of the team
telling every player to get in line and
come smell my breath.

The coach took me outside
by hand
and with both arms
shoved me into the chain-link fence
between football and the apartment.
He said—I don't give a rat fuck
about poor you, no father. Go get character,
though I think it's too late—he said
and shook me against the fence again.

I'll go get something alright, I thought—
bloody hands from the fence, halfway crying—
so I went and got more beer
called my one friend, Jerry
who was cross-eyed and gay
(1974, neither of these accepted yet)
and we went driving around.
That night was the Homecoming Game,
and I was out of uniform

Another fact: Coach Taylor didn't like Jerry, either:
sissy, faggy, abnormal, "it's just too bad for his folks,"
etc etc etc etc, the usual.

So, we weren't nuanced—Revenge
was on our minds, driving around with Elton John
(glamour-eyed, not yet officially gay)
on the radio.

Then, I saw it. How we'd go get the coach.

While the football game was being played
(we stayed in the neighorhood, hearing the cheering),
we stole real estate signs out of front yards
jammed them into my big back seat and trunk Chevrolet,
waited until after the game
after the Homecoming Dance
after the victory celebrations
past midnight,
lights out in houses
lights out in the Chevy
both of us real drunk,
and planted all the signs, at least 30 of them
in the coach's front yard.

Drove off laughing
headlights still out
then ON
beer cans rattling on the floor,
75 mph in the 35 mph zone.
Then, even faster
into the rest of that Wizard of Oz night,
passing English mansions flying by—
on both sides!

No one stopped us, no one
tackled us, not even close.

I got out of that apartment.
The coach was upside down
in that house, and anywhere else.

And me and my friend, we
got character that night. Maybe.
We thought. Anyway, we were
on the way.

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