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Samuel Hoffmann Dec 2018
When I grow up I’m going to be younger,
sillier, more adventurous, and free.
I’m going to say what I like, do what I please,
and in general, just be happy.

I won’t care what salary I make;
six-figure, five-figure, or none.
I could be doorless and friendless,
and still manage to be happy and have fun.

If I make mistakes, I will have made mistakes.
Mistakes are just bound to come.
All I can do is learn and become better,
smile, and not forget to have fun.

I’ll work; we all work.
But man, I'll make sure to have fun.
I could pick up trash or flip burgers
while smiling and still getting the job done.

When I grow up I’m going to be happy.
Equally, if not happier than now.
I’ll make sure to have fun and get things done,
and at the end of it all take a bow.
For some reason the whole world tries so hard to make you want to give in and believe that responsibility and pain and sadness and hate are just a given and it’s just not true. Life can be constant happiness and fun and just an awesome time and I’m set on making that mine.
L B Mar 2017
This is a three-part, longer narrative poem, seen
as old photographs that follow the main character, My Aunt, Lillian Goldrick, across two decades.  It was written 30 years ago*
______

“Hey Kid!”     Part I

Photographs aren’t fair
stopping the soul where it’s not
in rectangular guffaws
surrounded by serrated edges, pickets, teeth?
to fence and stab in yellow, soft-covered booklets
with designated floppy phrase
“Your memories”

Happier than she could ever be...

A black and white day at Salisbury Beach, NH
hung over his hammock
Private pin-up girl
tilts her head against silver sheen of shoulder
Hair, dark chignon
except for a few wispy curls about her face
freed by wind
bleached by sun

Stopped

...for three decades
Legs slightly bent—long extended
that could stop trains, stop traffic

Stopped

Modest bathing suit, probably peach
cannot hide (not that she would)
the undeniable
And if there were question left
you could look at her smile—and love her
posed by he message scrawled in sand:

“Hey Kid!”

What kid? Where?
In the foreground?
In the camera’s eye?

In the background—
a Ferris wheel, a billboard
and  r-i-g-h-t  there—Can’t you see it?
Look again—behind her eyes
You can barely see it, but it’s there.
Remember?

The Depression
Only ten years before
It was April
Stroke, heart attack
Both of them gone, a year apart!
The priest came
Last Rites for mortally stricken
Candles, crucifix, the Catholic containment
of holy water that dams the tears

Kneeling around the bed
they said the Rosary

——————————

After VJ Day he came
to the house on the corner
of Commonwealth Ave.
She knew he was coming
but she could not be ready today
nor tomorrow
nor next week—or ever...

“Lill! Will ya come to the door?
She’ll be ready in a minute.
Hey Lill! Hurry up, will ya!
They’re waitin’ fer us!”

Upstairs in the dark hallway
her door clicks shut....
________


"Hey Kid"    Part II


The clock at Joe Rianni’s read 20 minutes to 12...

Crowd from the Phillip’s Theater—gone
though laughter lingers
in a Friday mood
in high-backed booths
where only an hour ago swinging free
were high-heeled shoes
legs crossed at knees....

Now on tables abandoned
deserted fields of French
fries lie cold in salt flurries

Only female straws wear lipstick
as do Luckys bent in ashtrays
Males, uniformly flattened
as powder burned, as mortar might
shells, casings—the evidence of war
Among explosions of tickled giggles
one was taken broadside...

listing     toward      stars
_______

...The clock read 20 minutes to 12

when she walked in--
And Rhea stopped swabbing black mica counters
long enough to absorb late-customer hate
and envy that such beauty can arouse
In voice hoarse and weighted like a trucker’s

“Whadaya have, Lill?”

“coffee”

The small answer settled at the soda fountain
and slowly struck a match...
She was falling from the slant
of her black felt hat
dripping off the point of pheasant feather
Gray gabardine suit
tailored from angle of shoulder
to dart diagonally
toward such a waist!
Turned to skirt hips
that arched and dove toward slit—
then seams that run the round of calf

that seem to flow
to ankles of naught—
...and all that seems

Black     high-heeled     above it

Coffee— cold, stale
Gray glassed-in stare
searches air and random walls
of coat hooks, menus, mirrors...
while lips ****** exiled words— replies

Dragging a demon from her Camel
slowly     purposefully
she exhaled a burly arm of smoke
that rose and laid its hand
against the ceiled atmosphere of embossed tin
Then leaning over her shoulder
in roiling emission of shrugs and sneers—

“Lill—There’s no way outa here!”
________


“Hey Kid!”    Part III

After kneeling backwards on their chairs
after nuns, catechism recited
After—
Five of them scuffed through leaves and litter
along the curbing
spotting cars that counted—
Bugs, beach wagons, flying bathtubs
A slower way home of hunting
shiny chestnuts and muddy finds
rare match book covers
and bottle caps that win ya things!

One breaks from bunch
and trials off to where
dimes turn to candies!
...at a dingy luncheonette...Joe Rianni’s
____

Here—behind smeary wall of glass
pleasure leers while holding back
those grimy fingers, lips that long
for jelly fish, gum drops, lollies
holding back the company
of Baby Ruth, and Mary Jane
O Henry or Bazooka Joe!
For less money but the same salivation
there were colored dots to chew and ****
from strips of paper that last forever!
For a little more, plus the sweet struggle
of desire denied
a kid could be proud owner
of a pea shooter or trading cards!
While in the mouth
were golden imaginings—
the chocolate foil of coins
and the candied pretense of cigarette adulthood
_____

Rhea didn’t see her in the line...

Only grownups with wallets and purses
Only grownups get waited on...
...because Rhea was a Gypsy!
Kids could tell!
by her big red lips and hair to match
by the nasty way she chased them out—
“****** kids!”
Only grownups get waited on....
_______

And the clock read 20 minutes to 12

While a child waits—
time stirs in a ceiling fan
   There’s a drift in attention
      along deepening endless walls
         toward a line of sleepy booths
              carved with

“I was here—in such and such a year”

Her aunt—at the last stool—like always
Their names too close
Confused too often

A little girl wonders
about the sight behind the sightless stare
loafers, ankle socks, the ‘40s hair
the gathered skirt that gathers ashes
as they fall from cigarette
held in yellowed fingertips
Tremors crimp the smoke that climbs—

              ...a strobing pillar

“Whataya want, girly?”

              ...the only movement

“Hey! What’s it gonna be!”

              ...in a shot—

“HEY KID!”

              Snapped
There are photos that go with this. I'll try to post them together on Facebook.
and you go all wahwah
Peanuts grownups

then fall
decomposes me
your lips always twisted
in silken wilting

just one petal adrift
detonates memorial landmines
impaling me permeable

with depthtruthfelt

hands held
for spring
3am....boom!
Door slams, feet pounding on stairs.
4am....boom!
My household remains asleep, Only me and my cares.

They come in all colors,
different flavors,
unique fears,

No status quo,
different walks,
All sorts of careers

The business owners,
The urban campers,

The highschool dropouts,
Grownups still in Pampers.

Theres even the alumni,
with their bumper sticker,
All taking a medicine,
that only makes them sicker.

All the while, the thoughts harbored within-
Makes me think, this wall we share, may as well be paper thin.

I smell the smell,
Made a call with a cell,

No help from the ones dressed in blue
Just me and myself, seeing it through.

The war is mine,
The battles they own,
Let it end, before this wall we share,
Becomes their gravestone
This is my rough draft.
I may repost the finished version
Either way, Its one of my current "big" troubles in life. So, writing it out, getting it out there, feels most important
Izzy Jul 2017
First Minutes
The discovery sinks in as we spring into action
Adrenaline kicks in, heart pounding, blood rushing.
My mind confusedly putting pieces together.
First Few Hours
Calls are made to paramedics and cops and investigators swarm our house.
Our car goes faster than what is safe as we follow the ambulance as it carried what we would later learn was only her body and a few dedicated paramedics.
A time of death is announced and more tearful calls are made, this time to family and later to friends.
We leave hours later surrounded by a mournful silence.
First Day
We sat on the on the couch in a shocked silence, which was only broken by my calls to her friends, the ringing of the house phone and doorbell.
First Week
The silence was deafening and I had to escape.
So I returned to school after making arrangements with my family for the cremation and shedding my own tears for the first time. I caught the last two classes of the day and began burying myself in my classwork after telling those who needed to know.
First Month
Our own questions were behind every turn as we handled finances, possessions, settling things and celebrating her short life.  
I began to tell more and more of my friends.
Second Month
The pain was still fresh and stinging,
My mother returned to work for the first time.
Third Month
I held back my tears in English.
The play we read reminding me of her and running lines with her the previous year.
Fourth Month
I let it get to me while locked in my room, wishing it was my boyfriend's arms around me instead of my paint-stained jacket as I painted the canvas as black as I was feeling.
Recording my tears for him and watching how he hid his own watery eyes the next day in class as I honored our promise.
Her birthday passed and my mother planted flowers.
Fifth Month
After an uneventful spring break, my dad began staying home from work, unable to handle the weight of his thoughts.
Sixth Month
School ended and summer began and for the first time in what was now fourteen years, I didn't have a sister. I was alone.
Seventh Month
Slowly but surely the pain faded, with the help of scattered therapists, counselors, and mountains of support from family and friends. Summer traditions continued but were never the same.
Eighth Month
The weight of her absence doesn’t rest on my shoulders as heavy anymore.
Ink stains me with her memory. The pain I felt, saw and personified over many pages as we still face it.
My father has returned to work as we each learn to deal with the missing piece of our family in our own ways.
Ninth Month
School begins.
It's my junior year and school is starting for the first time since 3rd grade without my sister. My mother would always take a "first-day" picture, the tradition faded when we attended different schools. Maybe it wasn't so annoying after all.
Tenth Month
It's October, my, our, favorite month. Lost memories run through my head along with missed opportunities. Did we even carve pumpkins last year? Last year we argued about passing out candy but both ended up falling asleep. When was the last time we went to the County Fair? The Mullet Festival? Missed opportunities for silly reasons.
Eleventh Month
The Holiday season is kicking off. Soon it will be Thanksgiving. Her absence is noticeable as I stand amongst my family and celebrate. The only ones who don't ignore it are the little ones, repeatedly asking where she is as the grownups look uncomfortable. I don't know what to tell them.
Twelveth Month
The Holidays are in full swing and I can't help but think of the last one we all spent together. She passed before Christmas. They aren't the same anymore.

One Year
Its hard to believe that a year has passed without her. Her room is the same as if shes just at school. We spent the anniversary doing things she enjoyed, like taking the family dog to the beach and sharing cotton candy.
We haven't moved on, not in the slightest. My mother still cries, I don't think she'll ever stop. But as the days pass I can see how it gets easier and easier for my family to be happy again.
B L Costello Feb 12
Mad at me,
Mad at you,
I keep the peace and forget what you do,
Still,
I am haunted,
I am not a child,
Remember?
I wish I was senile!
No!  
I cannot forget what you did,
But I love you,
So…I forgive,
Tossing this ball like grownups do,
Your game,
Catch 22
©B L Costello 2019
Annette Nov 26
trouble
double trouble
and then you jumped into eternity

with your serious face you said
'look sis...
drugs are cool
grownups are simply jealous'

perhaps

did it secure a smooth flight?
will i ever ever know whether you planned to land

in eternity?
Inspired by Autumn T's poem 'for my brother'.... I suddenly remembered his voice from long long ago... gosh, he was such a tease! (... see 'first kiss')
Deb Jones Dec 2018
First Candy
My mouth still remembers
The sweetness on my tongue
I was three
It was a candy aptly named
A “Bit-O-Honey”
It’s still a favorite

First Near Death
Our home was on fire
I was five
My older sister and I
Ran to my mother’s room
She hid under the bed
I hid behind the door
My mother truly
Used herculean strength
To move a propane tank
Beside the window
To get to us

First Secret
My brother

First Authority
I remember the day
I realized I had a parent
One that controlled my actions
And punished too
The day I felt fear
I was three or four
And climbed under the house
So far in. Like a mouse
No adult could reach me
The grownups pried up the floor
I was comforted
My older brother was spanked
(Irish Twin)
He was only 11 months older than I was

First Butterflies
I knew he liked me
A light skinned black boy
Every time I stuck my head out
The school bus window
He did too.
So he could see me.
His sweet little face
Carried in my heart forever.
Even though we never
Exchanged even one word
I was six

First Male Touch
Sodomized
Adult male
Son of my mother’s best friends
11 surgeries
And a entire school year

First Fight
My sister stole clothes
Off the line of our nearest Neighbors
A mile away
Unique looking jeans
And a blouse
She wore them to school
The next day
The girl confronted
Her on the bus
I had to fight the girl
Because we were not
A family of thieves
Just a family that had thieves

First ******
I fainted

First Kiss
Charles.
He was fourteen
I was thirteen
His hands cupped my cheeks
As he lowered his lips to mine
The flick of his tongue
Was a surprise
He wrote me for several years
Beautiful love letters
I would hide them

First Thrill
On the rooftop of a speeding car
Hanging by my fingertips
On to the rooftop
Where it met the windshield
Another boy.
He was nineteen to my thirteen
He kissed me at 50 mph
My brother was driving

First Public Lie
I went door to door
Asking people to donate
Money to buy mice
For Cancer research
I fed my siblings that week
I was twelve

First Shame
I brought home a girl
From school
To stay the night.
Even though I thought
Our house looked ok
My father came home
And said
“Aren’t you ashamed?”
And right then I saw our lives
Through the eyes of another
And my father was right
She told everyone at school
What we did and didn’t have.

First Stroke
A hard punch to my temple
So was the second
And third
Fourth
5th
...

First Pride
Teaching myself to drive
Three on the tree
In a 47 ford
With a chain steering wheel
Glued to the steering column.

First Baby
She’s in my purse
Wrapped in pillowcases
In the ground

First Beg
Please let me come stay with you momma.
“No”

First True Love
No other love came close
To the feelings flowing
Through me
As I held my first son
And the second
Then the third

First Panic
Seeing my four year old son
As I raced down the street
To the woman racing
Toward me holding my child
Bloodied and unconscious
In her arms
My throat closed on screams

First Adult Love
I had loved others before him
But he taught me
How to be cherished
He painted my name
And the date on his wall
In letters taller than me
And he sealed the wall
And built cabinets
That will never be moved
We love each other still

First Motorcycle Ride
My thighs cradling his hips
The feel of his hand
Caressing my calves
At every stoplight
Silently falling in love

First Professional Pride
My career
The wall of framed degrees
I will turn away a personal compliment.
But never a compliment
About my accomplishments

First Pets
I always poured my heart
And tears
Into and unto my dogs
Angel, Benji, Gizmo, Baby
Dobie, Mandy, Cheona
Nora, Jackie, Gus, Callie
So many, many more.

First Drugs
Marijuana more than a few times
Hash once
Formaldehyde (***), Juice
Did once.
So many terrifying hallucinations
******* once

First Emotional Pain
I told my husband
We needed to see a counselor
As soon as possible
He refused.
He didn’t understand
How serious it all was
Suddenly serious
I left this man that I still love
Two weeks later

First Heartsick Pain
I told a man I loved him
He didn’t tell me he loved me
Until a year to the day
We first met
He broke something
Inside me that year

First *** with a Younger Man
He was done, I wasn’t
He moaned for me
To help me out
I opened one eye in a slit
His moaning turned to panting
I think he watched a lot of ****

First Time I said No
And meant it.
I was supposed to pick up
Prints from a Christmas party
He was naked
And drug me around his house
I still had my purse
On my shoulder
As he came all over my dress

First Dance Trophies
West coast swing
East coast swing
Two-Step
10-Step
Schottishe
Dancing the “Neon Moon” naked

First Disillusionment
The man I married at fourteen
Was having *** with a woman
Who asked me to babysit
Her kids that night
I did. I watched her two children.
He reeked of her perfume.

First Song
Always and Forever
By the Heatwave
Our song you said
How young we were

First Stage Fright
I gave a performance at school
It was a great hit
I was ashamed
I published the story about it
Twenty-five years later
It was a great hit

First Justice
Was no justice at all
Attacked on my patio
Saved by a neighbor
He was out the next week
About the same time
The swelling went down
On my “cauliflower” ear

First Adult Stage Fright
I took a summer off
Of my medical career
And DJ’d at a different club
During days of the week.
When no one had requests
I was required to sing.
It’s what I was hired to do.
Especially the piano bars
In San Francisco

First Deaths
My Brother
My Father
My Niece
My Mother
My Sister
It feels like a first each time

First Songs
Drops of Jupiter
By Train
From my sons to me.
Wild Horses
By Jewel
From me to my sons

So many firsts.
We are destined to repeat them
Only some of them
Are worthy of repeating
May Mercy spare us
On some Seconds
I remember.

I remember everything.
Every little detail.
I was young, to young.
I was just a child.
Why would you do something like this to a child.

I remember.

It was February 9th, about a week after my birthday.
I remember watching cartoons in my brothers room.
I was eating an apple, a green apple.
Sitting in a red fold up lawn chair for kids.
I faintly remember the smell of your cologne.
You told me we were playing a game.

I remember.

I fell for your game.
Get on the bed you say, let’s play!
I remember you taking off my clothes.
Blue jean shorts and grey T-shirt.
The way your hands touched my skin.
Your breath on my body.

I remember.

I know now the things you did below my waist.
You left when my parents got home from work.
The day went on like normal.
My mum gave me a bath, put me in my pajamas.
We were in the living room watching television.
I had asked for a banana.

I remember.

I told my mum what you did to me.
About the game we played.
Sitting in a room full of grownups I don’t know.
Answering questions that I don’t want to.
Being without my parents.
Feeling guilty and ashamed.

I remember.

Even now 19 years later.
I remember all of those things.
I can’t forget those things.
I want to forget those things.
You did this to me.
I will always remember.

I’ll remember.

I am a victim.
I am a fighter.
I will survive.
I will remember you.
I will never fall for those games.
It has been 19 years.

19 years...

— The End —