Occasionally, when I'm in a certain mood, I'll wander online in search of poetry that speaks to me. It was on a recent walkabout that I came upon a piece by an author I've read before, but who hasn't done anything meaningful in way too long. It's a bit rough, but it's raw and honest. Hope you enjoy.
Growing up on the mean streets of North Brunswick, New Jersey made Dave a hard man.
He bore the scars of serious playground beat-downs when he went
and bummed a ride in an IROC-Z and rode south to liberal arts college.
He stood out a bit down there for his love of The Cult, Judas Priest, and the Eagles.
He hated the very mention of mayonnaise on an Italian sub,
and the southern genteel boys knew never to bring it up.
Otherwise, Dave might lose it on them by drinking a bunch of Milwaukee's Best, turning red,
and sleeping on the cold, cold porcelain of the third floor men's room commode.
The cold reminded him of the cold world in New Jersey he'd left far behind for the greener pastures of Virginia,
a pastoral new setting where he could invent a dweeby game called The Disc Game
where participants guessed which song among six compact discs on the hi-fi would come up next,
and correct guesses got your name proudly and dorkily displayed in permanent marker on the dorm room wall,
a stark contrast to the years of hiding his geekiness on the rough hopscotch asphalt of Jersey.
Similarly, there were streaking episodes in college --
and not just for the well hung members of the glorified Physics Club Dave ran with in Williamsburg;
rather, he and his cohorts appeared to be a parade of Irish late bloomers in very cold weather 30 seconds after intercourse in a pool who'd just been presented with a photo of gay porn and gore.
It was liberating, and Dave tasted sweet, sweet freedom.
It tasted like Nino's Pizza, but without the serious beat-downs if you ordered veggies on it.
Dave spent four years frolicking among the meadows of nerdy Colonial Virginia,
slowly letting the memories of his closeted dorky childhood fade, biding his time
until he could return to the Garden State a full-fledged adult no longer vulnerable to playground beat-downs,
if only because he rarely frequented playgrounds (after the citation).
Later, however, after kids, he began making his way back to some of those same old childhood haunts,
those same mean streets jungle gyms where the beat-downs had occurred,
and as he watched his own son display the same penchant for nerdiness that he'd experienced --
but be able to shout it from the swingset-tops without fear of serious beat-down, Dave was happy.
The world was indeed a better place, as Jackie DeShannon predicted in Top 40 song so long ago.
But deep down, Dave also felt a twinge of bitterness.
Why should his progeny escape the beat-downs he lived in fear of, and would it make them weaker adults?
Like Asia sang, only time will tell.