warlords

This is a poem my sweet mother, the greatest writer I know, wrote in 2003.  It deserves to be shared.


Maybe there were too many green-soldier

men stacked in closets, then rustled down

from shoe-boxes – green soldiers from

the Buster Brown shoebox versus

green soldiers deployed from the Ked’s shoebox.

Maybe there were too many “choose sides”

backyard football games where

boys sized each other up, salivated

for the win, gripped that pigskin

like it was a leather god.

Bullies were born in school halls or

afternoon playgrounds where push and shove

became tug-of-war for childhood warlords

establishing mini-territories they would carry in their back pockets along with the

tattered baseball card of Mickey Mantle,

or the tiny gray frog they thought could live

in the dark of their jeans’ pocket, at least

until they were called to supper and wandered

home to roast beef, carrots, potatoes,

biscuits warm from the oven and, of course,

apple pie.

These are the leaders of our country – boys

with frogs in their pockets and

rockets’ red glare in their eyes.

And these boys have issued an ultimatum to Tommy Bilbrey in Fourth Period English

he stares straight ahead at chalkboard words.

Meet us out back after school – or else.

use your words here:

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