Wednesday, May 14, 2014

poem of the day 05.14.14

facere et docere (to do and to teach)

the catholic school dance had ended
and we were waiting for my old man to pick us up

but he never showed

when we were the last ones left in the lot
calvin said to me, what do we do now?

i shrugged because i didn’t know

i had images of car wrecks and home invasions
but the chances were good my old man
had just fallen asleep on the couch again

we’d been less than a month in this school
the big, catholic high school in pittsburgh
taught by the christian brothers

danny said, maybe we should go and knock
on the brother’s door

it seemed like a good idea
all of the lights were on in the brother’s house
they probably had a phone

they were our teachers our spiritual guides
there was no way they’d refuse to help
three fourteen year-old boys

it took a while but one of the brothers finally opened up

he was still in his garments
the black pants and black shirt like a priest
a little while collar instead of a tab

what do you want? he said

my dad never showed, i told him

and that’s my problem how? he said
well, i was stumped on that one
to be honest i didn’t expect that kind of treatment

can we use your phone? danny said
the brother’s home is closed, he said
the school is closed too
then he smiled and shut the door in our faces

i think he teaches religion class, calvin said

we went searching for a pay phone
our high school was in a college part of the city
so there were packs of drunk students on the street howling

a coed fell over and couple of guys picked her up
and dragged her away

we got about two blocks from the school
when a carload of pink-faced frat boys
threw their crushed beer cans at us

assholes, danny shouted
but then the car stopped and flew into reverse

we ran back the two blocks
back to the catholic school lot
we hid behind bushes but the car never came for us

there was nothing to do
so we sat on the school lawn

i watched the lights go out in the school
and the janitor go to his car humming

i watched the lights in the brother’s home burn
almost every single one was on

i thought of how comfortable and secure those guys were

safe to watch tv or read or to pray to jesus
or jack-off to images of fourteen year-old boys

like we all knew they were doing

close to midnight
my old man crept into the parking lot

i fell asleep, he said

as me and calvin and danny got into the car
i took one last look at that brother’s home
all lit up like the fourth of july

i thought about the brother at the door
the one who smiled and then slammed it in our faces

and i finally understood
all i ever needed to know about catholicism

the truth about everything
they’d always taught me to believe.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

He is just a man in the cloth trying to be better than thou. But the truth is, he is hiding from reality. He knows he is a piece of shit, and wearing those garments somehow makes it all better for him. We don't need them to make us safe, we need; Protection from one self.