Little game, or: Thrill me

Perhaps it was the 

I remember the bus stop by
the brown field
Empty no man's land between the houses
with a couple of small

How old was I in second or
third grade? Nine years old I

Maybe eight
houses down from ours maybe
It's all so hazy

Those two small trees in
that dry, strange, empty space
unwanted, un
They were simply there, not
far apart from one another
teasing me with their 
purposelessness, their 

Perhaps it was

Sometimes, often even, I still
want to do the wrong
very wrong 

Things are so murky now
What was I thinking all those years ago?
Certainly as a boy all of my worst
inclinations were un

Fantasies consumed

I had super powers
Rules didn't apply to me
Nobody new about my secret 
identities, but
I wanted to brag to

Be appreciated

Life in 
my imagination was 

So exciting
that I simply had to tell the other boys
at the bus stop
to convince them that I had access to other realms
Supernatural control over the universe
Certainly over a little tree near the bus stop

Perhaps it

I summoned demons from another dimension
to burn that little tree little
by little
very early 
every morning, long before anyone normal awoke
I would watch flames born of comics pages licking
And when the lower branches began to blacken
noticeably with burn marks
I felt my secret

Feigning innocence, but speaking excitedly
about arson at the bus stop
and the possibility of alternate dimensions full of fire

All of the boys certainly mentioned the little
tree's gradual, daily destruction
at home, and I was too excited not to


I was so sure of my cleverness
Speaking, feigning ignorance, innocence, un
to my mother
Something terrible and strange is happening there
I said

There's an arsonist, I suppose, 
all we 
know is 
that the little
is being 
burned up slowly
What should we do about this?
What can we do about this?
What can we do?
What? So

was not my super power, or
perhaps my mother's super powers were stronger
despite the vastness of my imagination

She was awake long before anyone normal awoke
waiting for me at the door 
to another dimension, the portal
to powers and forbidden

I stood there a fool, holding some comics 
pages and matches, feeling revealed, stupid,
pathetic, un

Oh... Oh...


the thrill of it.

d’Verse open link night

For this ‘open link night’ at d’Verse, I’d like to share a free verse poem that I wrote last October. It’s based upon my memories of a true episode during my childhood when I was in 2nd or 3rd grade.

63 thoughts on “Little game, or: Thrill me”

  1. Forgive the length, I love this poem and hope you appreciate the feedback.

    Reading it a second time, something darker speaks to me, especially how the lines make their own realm of not fantasy, but a painful reality.

    “Sometimes, often even, I still / want to do the wrong / very wrong //Things,” makes me wonder if there’s a war inside of him as an adult over something that happened in childhood that would make one want to so terribly slowly burn a healthy tree. You accomplish this again with the double use of one word’s context: “Certainly as a boy all of my worst / inclinations were un // Fantasies.” Maybe the adult feels guilt over other more serious or violent things that he knew concretely affected him? Maybe it’s hidden in “un’s” and caesural pauses? I see the form a third time when he “wanted to brag to / [wanted to] be appreciated.”

    I’m intrigued by your use of “no man’s land,” “purposelessness.” “Long before anyone normal wakes up,” could be read as self-critical, not really about the mother. Also, the trees he tortures have “purity,” but he “feigns innocence.”

    It’s all beautifully layered together.

    1. Karen, wow. You imbue my poem with meaning(s) that hadn’t even struck me before… I do *tremendously* appreciate this. This poem was a stream of consciousness, as you perhaps can tell… but I do think it may reveal a lot about me – even to myself! Thank you so much for taking the time to leave this thoughtful and fascinating analysis with me!


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