That Time (02) Playing With Fire

stories about our childhood
known to be true
even if we don’t believe
memory is ours
or not
the way memory works

killing black
snakes from a boat
in the pond behind
art’s corner store
yellow green
dill pickles
crisp tart and perfect
thirty three cent smokes
mars bar under our belt
he caught us the first time
wouldn’t be the last

tell the stories
couldn’t be true
couldn’t not be

anything that could burn
went into the bag
cigarettes cigars matches
pipe tobacco
(for our pipes)
highway flares in our pants
pouring lighter fluid
on the chair in the woods
sitting it out
lighting our arms on fire
the smell of burnt hair
and grass
from that time
we blackened
the baseball field
ran barry’s tighty whiteys
up the flagpole

caught at
the five and dime
by the two-way mirror
the smug old bastard
waiting for our parents
who fucking cares
we’ll jump the train

heads rolled
one from a rolling car
crash
the other on the railroad
track
who fucking cares
not our head
not that time

the older kid with tin foil
wrapped around his head
we didn’t know about
alien lizards
but they are perfect
we woulda
made them up if not

is it a coincidence
that our childhood
was full of tropes
moments of apocryphy

true crime stories
sheriff killed someone
with a shotgun
then himself
deputy caught fucking
(raping)
in the back seat
fucking fourteen!

which came first
the chicken
or the coop?

tell the stories
not that one
not yet

that time our best friend
got the best of us in a fight
pinned us down
“if you don’t get off
we’ll kill you”
it worked
we beat his ass because
it was expected it was
our turn
felt bad about it
later in the penny candy store
across the street from the movie
theatre where we watched
to sir with the mark of the devil
said we was sorry but
the hurt in his eye
said more

stolen candles from the altar
we couldn’t find the wine
why should we tell the priest our sins
ok we lied so fucking what
old bastard
shit on the pew

code word: pencils
”let’s go buy us some pencils”
two quarters was all it took
for a pack of pencils
but why not take four
they stack so neatly
easily lifted
from her purse

parents don’t know anything
can’t see anything
can’t be found
parents are strangers
we were forced to abide
worse than that

that time we burned
down the barn
don’t worry the horses
weren’t in it
but if you put a fireplace in
a tack room under
a loft full of hay
someone has to light a fire
before the end of the act

our first paper tits
were behind that barn

we smoked it all
”oregano”
laced with dirt
palm leaves on easter sunday
banana skins any other saturday
seven kinds of liquor
in a peanut butter jar

sugar in the gas tank
run like hell

we put that firecracker
in the frogs mouth
blam!
cut the snakes head
off with a folding knife
we all had one
we were boy scouts
(torture camp)

frog egg fights
good old fashioned
fun with flaming plastic
cars speeding
down the driveway

crypt in the woods
or was it a tomb
I CAN NEVER REMEMBER
door cracked open
easy to pry
in the dirt
easy to dig
moist dirt
dried wood
bones
vertebra
vertebrae
whoa check it out
jaw bone with teeth
gold fuck yeah
take it home
made to put it back but
we didn’t

meet Frances
hiya kid hand out
for a shake
feeling cool until
down on the snow bank
boot against our head
please to meet ya
ha ha have some
whiskey
it burns so good
it helps to
ease the pain

the first time
talking to fred flintstone
from a nickel bag laced
with ashes
then it was all smiley button
and steak knife
by the pool

(we ended up finding
the cat’s body
in the storage room
under a pile of
garbage)

smoke bombs down the aisle
here kid wanna drag
ducks ass for you
plastic baggie of
various pills
various shapes
various purposes
various sizes
various colors
oops busted again
so fucking what
what does that do?

we didn’t flinch
when the Mr. Asshole punched
the locker right
next to our head
he got a pair of frog eyes
in a candy wrapper
for that one

another use for pencils
broken in half
at the right angle
scratched her name into our arm
bloody “linda”
we made out but
got in trouble
for not doing more
than that

running across the gym floor
legs moving in time
to the rhythm of the band
against our will
the first time we
realized the body
doesn’t always cooperate
whose body is it?
we did not want that to happen
the body does what
the body is made
to do

smoke bombs were
store bought
but the cannons and the
stink bombs were
home made
bunch of match heads
bobby pin rubber band
pen cap and copper tube
scientifically assembled

in the abandoned chicken
coop, where…

our other brother
heard we could get high
if we lick the skin of a toad
let’s find us some toad

we were all
American boys

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