School Daze

Posting poems is the hardest thing I do. (Perhaps for you as well.) They never sound like poetry to my ears, but rather, like a song trilled off-key. But my poems cannot learn to fly until I set them free.

In the misspent days of autumn youth
he dreamt of fields of green, of
outstretched hands behind him, open
spaces where he’d dance, and spin
in the way that men could be pretty
and still manly
‘cause that mattered
the crowd would roar his fame
until his father’s failings were but funky dust
remembered swirls that swoon in envy
o’er the worn-down asphalt and sandlot glass
his school daze would fade
into in summer sweat and sunbaked cheers

‘cuz

teachers don’t matter
much
when even your dreams are pretty
and he dreamed, sweet Jesus, that
his legacy would be 22-inch rims
ostentatiousness bordering obscenity
flashing sunlight like
a twenty dollar Paparazzo
‘cause a boy with dreams and a
spin that pretty deserves
a red carpet arrival
and not
the crimson of blood spilt in summer heat
or a junkie’s crackly, itchy song
like grated cat nerves on a hot tin plate

and

youthful dreams should not be
chimera
for will-be men with
rich chocolate voices and
a lion’s mane of shaggy locks
nor should boys secret dreams
of dying in gutters or
harbor aspirations of an addict’s
servitude with a crack ho queen
and
autumn dreams do not carry names
like Texas George or One-eyed Sam
or Just Plain Lou with the dusty hair
and the one filthy blonde dreadlock
‘cuz you know you can’t be pretty or
smile with platinum Flavor Flaved
teeth in a 22’s reflection
when the Horse done kicked your
Texas George assed teeth in

and

the only spin he still musters
precedes a final stumble in crimson
gutters
knowing his legacy was
written in poverty, self defeat
and one-track dreams of roundball
flair
with no back-up plan
save the cool curve of a bottle

so

Langston Hughes wrote
all his best shit for nothing
wisdom bouncing off glazed eyed
fantasies
‘cause school is for learning
that pretty only matters
in the spring
but autumns last a long, damn time
and nothing comes to dreamers
but to sleep.

4 Comments

  1. That’s a really great poem. There’s too many things I like about it to be able to say them all, but one is the little beat between stanzas – and, so – and the imagery, ‘funky dust’ etc.

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback, especially since you liked some of the stuff I feared was stupid.

  2. Eagle Tech says:

    Fantastic poem. Poetry isn’t normally my thing, but this is poetry I can get into.

    1. Thank you very much.

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