Wednesday, September 8, 2010

poem of the day 09.08.10

my last fight

c.c. was the first
vegetarian that i knew
and his old man was crazy

it was rumored
that c.c.’s old man had killed
his girlfriend’s dog back in the 60’s

he played guitar in the street
while we tried playing wiffleball or football
just to throw us off our game

c.c.’s old man made
his wife nurse, until c.c.’s sister turned three
the little girl biting her mother’s nipple so hard
yet the old man wouldn’t let her scream

it seemed that there were tons of rumors
about c.c.’s old man, on our street

i was friends with c.c
before anybody else
the other kids didn’t like him
because he couldn’t play ball
because he was a vegetarian
and ate things like carob chip cookies

i liked c.c. because he wasn’t
like the other kids on the street
because he knew about music
because he knew about art
and ate things like carob chip cookies

his crazy old man had taught him about both
even though he claimed
to have thrown kids out of airplanes over in vietnam

c.c.’s old man never went to vietnam

i don’t remember how it came about

we were throwing around a nerf football
and one of the guys got hungry
he said he wanted to go to the pizza shop
and get a pie

the other guys wanted pizza as well

i asked c.c. to come
but he said that he couldn’t because
his old man only let them eat wheat pizza

it’s wheat pizza
one of the guys said
winking at the rest of us

yeah, another said
all they serve is wheat pizza

i was sure c.c. didn’t believe the guys
but he went along with us anyway

when we got to the pizza shop
c.c. handed over his money like the rest of us
we waited for the pie
when it came out you could tell that it wasn’t wheat pizza

i need my money back, c.c. said

well, you gotta go and talk to that guy,
one of the guys said, pointing to an ape-like
smear of grease, in the shape of the pizza maker

he has all of our money, they said

c.c. looked at me
i can’t eat this, he said

you knew it wasn’t wheat pizza, i told him
you had to know

c.c. got up out of his chair
and tore out of the pizza shop
i watched him as he raced
across the parking lot
stopping to talk to himself,
as i’d caught him do a lot
when alone these days

the other guys laughed
and dug into the pizza

we left the pizza shop
c.c. was waiting behind a corner
he started throwing sticks and rocks at us
the other guys thought
it was a joke at first
but i could tell that c.c. was serious

i want my money, he said
then he started to cry

c.c. came after me
why, i do not know

i was his only friend amongst the crowd

i hit him in the face
before i even knew what i was doing
then i came with another and another

blood and tears on a saturday afternoon

a neighbor stopped us
he started yelling at the group of us

that’s when c.c. tore off toward home

back on the street
i was feeling nervous and scared
it had been years since my last fight

all of the guys were congratulating me
talking about the sound
that my fist made against c.c.’s face

the sound had made me sick

it was then that c.c.’s old man
opened his front door

he asked me what happened

i told him about the pizza shop

did you know that c.c. wasn’t allowed
to eat regular pizza? he asked

yes, i said

did c.c. know that it wasn’t wheat pizza? he asked

yes, i said.

thank you, c.c.’s old man said

he closed the door

we stood there in silence

then the group of us guys
played the quietest game of nerf football
that you ever heard

2 comments:

Lynne H. said...

wow.. You blind-sided me on this poem. The heart of cc and you beat loud and I heard it.. Wow, this one left me feeling sad for some reason..

Oh. so well written you know that though...

John Grochalski said...

lynne...thank you. i've been thinking about this kid a lot lately...although i guess he'd be a 38 year old man now. am writing a short story about the same topic, so he's been with me for a while now...at least in my head.