Monday, April 3, 2017

The Gang by John Grey

THE GANG                                                                 

smoking, rooftop sunning,
MTV at all hours, McDonalds,
Boston Baked Beans and Red Hots.
pilfered cigarettes,
beer thanks to a kid of 21 we knew -

fished, paddled,
tried to water ski,
stifled giggles at the shy parade
of a girlfriend's first bikini

played piggy-back in the water,
splash wars, near-drownings,
followed by bottle rockets
at twenty paces

gritted out teeth
at school's twelve year
lashing program -
hated teachers and cops -
fed our lockers
on whatever didn't embarrass us

in sleazy neighborhood
shop windows,
yearned for a piercing
and a dragon tattoo

ate footlongs, drank root-beer,
at home football, dodged questions like
"how come you're not out there on the field?"

competed in peeing contests, literally, peeing contests
nearest to the ceiling was king -
purred over an elder brother's first wheels

and carved -
wherever we could we carved -
trees, desks, light poles —
no presence went unrecorded

these days,
we meet and drink.
play poker and rap

this is some of the stuff we rap about -

did we really do that?
were we so stupid?

nobody can remember it happening to them
but they sure recall it happening to all of us

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, South Carolina Review, Stillwater Review and Big Muddy Review with work upcoming in Louisiana Review, Cape Rock and Spoon River Poetry Review.  

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