A Gethsemane Idyll by Sy Roth

Street still-life by Robert Sundheimer
Street still-life by Robert Sundheimer

What a tangled,
jumbled mass of wood–
splinters of wood,
we gathered
from the trash– its discards
and from the old factories that lined New Lots Avenue.

The piles we carried so lovingly,
bundled faggots that we
mounded in opposite corners of the courtyard
that were to be our forts–
lay in two small hillocks of dreams,
a frozen youthful odyssey.

Sirens called and
we made haphazard mental plans
to rule the precincts within the shadows–
closed in between the building
surrounding it
clotheslines crisscrossing haphazardly above
and the bedsheets waiting for a breath of wind
to flap them into dryness.

We paid homage to Bazooka Joe
jaws tightened from hours-long chewing of the pink-square masses
(sometimes two at a time belaboring our speech)
spitting the sweet juices like men
into the ground.

We’d collected scads of the Joe’s comics
printed on the waxed papers wrapping the gum
and finally amassed enough to send away for our communicators
a Bazooka Joe offering
so that we could talk between the dreams
in the cabins where we were to be the Lords of the Flies
and share our vagrant notions of humanity
or adolescent inanities.

The building’s custodian told us to clean up our piles of crap
for he did not see the buildings we had imagined.
He saw only a tangled, jumbled mass of splintered wood.
Where we saw dreams in our circumferential playground,
he did not comprehend Bazooka Joe chewing
and collecting the hundred Joe cartoons
and the twenty-five cents with our soda bottle returns.

Joe sent us two cans and a length of string
that was to be our communication,
but all we could hear were our own garbled voices
when we held the cans to our ears.
We just yelled a bit louder
and finally saw the twisted mass of wood for what it was
unchained imaginings set adrift in the same shadows of our experience
where the darkness of the quadrangle and the softly flapping sheets
laughed at our youth.

And from the windows high above,
they laughed at our dreams
when we abandoned our Bazooka Joe cans
and the possible dreams that might emerge from the ashes
of our imaginations.

Bazooka Joe was no longer funny.
And we cleaned up the crap
for the superintendent.

©2018 Sy Roth


Follow Sy:

Sy Roth is a retired school administrator who has finally found the sounds of silence and the time to think whole thoughts. This has led him to find words and the ability to shape them. He has published in Visceral Uterus, Amulet, BlogNostics, Every Day Poets, Barefoot Review, Haggard and Halloo, Misfits Miscellany, Mad Swirl, Larks Fiction Magazine, Danse Macabre, Bitchin’ Kitch, Bong is Bard, Humber Pie, Poetry Super Highway, Penwood Review, Masque Publications, Foliate Oak, Miller’s Pond Poetry and The Eloquent Atheist.

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