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 suppose Maybe eight houses down from ours maybe less 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 purity 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 demons All of the boys certainly mentioned the little tree's gradual, daily destruction at home, and I was too excited not to Perhaps 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 tree is being burned up slowly What should we do about this? What can we do about this? What can we do? What? So horrible Acting 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... 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”
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.
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!