THE NEW KID

Something about the new kid
didn't seem quite right.
And I think,
he would himself agree.

The first night there,
in the dorm,
surrounded with renegades
from every tribe,
Vincent lay awake
contemplating his situation.

This was no dream,
he assured himself.
It was no dream.
Though that afforded him
little comfort
Vincent felt not the urge
to bolt.
He, like a hero, remained calm,
remained still and pondered.

For this he took
the classic pose,
hands behind the head
while staring at the ceiling.

Looking around in the dark,
he could see by the light of a distant begrudging star,
the huddled sleeping forms
of his fellow cast-offs,
as he considered:
"Sure, they got it made;
the food, the arts,
but I understand
the taxes are killing them…"
said a distinctly British voice,
and Vincent
was jolted awake.
Talk about dreams.
"Weeks passed
and Vincent had become
the most popular kid…"
said a narrative voice,
and Vincent was
jolted awake again.

Talk about nightmares.

Weeks passed
and Vincent was
as abstract from the crowd
as he had been at his arrival.

He watched as alliances formed
and camaraderie lead to whispered
vulgarities
and back-slapping friendships.
There was some snorting,
such was the cleverness.

He stood off alone.
He stood off alone,
at a distance (over there near the rusty forgotten
basketball hoop mostly),
forming no alliance,
and whispering no vulgarities,
and, slapping no one's back
and snorting not at all,
and, as the bible says,
he understood them not.

He had no real,
you know, palpable,
craving for friendship.
But, (here's hope)
deep within the gurgling mess of his loins
…need I say more?

We find our ways.
We all find our ways.

So here he is now,
sneaking out the window at night.
We see him as
he makes his way
under the moonlight
across an open expanse,
as if escaping
from a movie-set-prison.

And here he is
at the gate
and, now, already he has slipped through.
And now he takes to foot
down a winding dusty path.
(Let’s not forget that moonlight.)

And here he is now
already lying beside her
in a small cot
with only an old army blanket
over their skinny jutting frames…
and, as they say,
the bony bodies bumped through the night.

(This is how quickly thing happen in Life.
It's a wonder that upon returning
from some disappointment or another
we don't bump into ourselves departing
with the idiot grin of expectation
still upon our ever-hopeful faces.)

Oh,
and I meant to say something
about the chicken incident
but forgot.

Only let me say this much about that:
I suppose in any real kind of writing
Vincent would be held responsible
for the chicken incident.
After all he seemed a likely suspect,
always keeping to himself
and quiet
and similar, somewhat trying
misdemeanors.

In the best American writing
he'd be wrongly accused and
OH, the injustice of it all!

But, Vincent had his own problems—
chickens aside.
BACK to CONTENTS