Tuesday, October 11, 2011

poem of the day 10.11.11


mitch and i
had been at the community center all day
trying to get in with the older kids

when one of them pulled out
a can of chewing tobacco

he slapped it with his fingers
before opening it and taking a dip
putting it between his bottom lip and gums

mitch and i
had never seen anyone do this

we watched as he passed the chew can around
as each of the other older kids
took a pinch of black tobacco out of it
putting it between their lips and gums as well

when the can reached us
we didn’t want to look young and foolish

mitch took a huge dip of the chew
and put it in his mouth like the others had

when it was my turn i did the same

then the group of us sat around
talking about baseball and girls
spitting wads of brown saliva onto the pavement

after a while i started to feel bad

my head began to hurt
my stomach began to do cartwheels

i started to sweat

when the other guys weren’t looking
i took the pinch of chew out of my mouth

but there were still strands of tobacco

caught in my gums
causing me to gag

christ, i felt like hell

i looked at mitch

he seemed to be fine

i need to get out of here, i told him
without these guys thinking anything

so mitch took a final spit
and got rid of his chew

he made up some bullshit about us
having to get cigarettes for his mom

because in those days
a kid could get cigarettes without the spanish inquisition

mitch and i began walking home
in the hot summer sun

it was relentless

my stomach kept churning and churning
my face white and covered in sweat

shit, i said
before bending over right there on the street
letting loose a stream of purple vomit
from the three popsicles i’d had earlier in the day

people walking their dogs stopped to look at us

people in cars slowed down

but no one helped
as mitch and i walked along
and i continued to spew purple all over
the pretty summer day

when we got back to his house
i laid on the front lawn
really feeling death for the first time

it took maybe an hour or more
for me to feel right

which was about the time mitch came back outside
with a handful of money

and the two of us walked up to the drug store
intent on buying a can of skoal

instead of baseball cards

as had been the case before that fateful day

No comments: