playing (with Fire)

p

stories about my childhood
that I know to be true
but don’t believe–
memory isn’t mine

killing black snakes from a boat
in the pond behind Art’s
corner store
dill pickles
thirty three cent smokes
a mars bar under my belt
he caught me the first time
wouldn’t be the last

tell the stories
anything that could burn
went into the bag
highway flares in my underpants
pouring lighter fluid
on the chair in the woods
lighting my arm on fire
the smell of burnt hair
and grass
from that time
we blackened the baseball field

jc penny and that two-way mirror
the smug old bastard
waiting for my parents
who fucking cares
I’ll jump the train

heads rolled
one from a rolling car
the other on the railroad tracks
who fucking cares
the older kid with tin foil
wrapped around his head
this was 1970 mind you
I didn’t know aliens existed back then
but it was perfect because we woulda
made them up if not–

tell the stories

that time my best friend
got the best of me in a fight
pinned me down
“if you don’t get off of me
I’ll kill you” it worked
I beat his ass because they
told me to
feel bad about it
later in the penny candy store
across the street from the movie
theatre where I saw To Sir
with the Mark of the Devil
Love

stealing candles from the altar
since we couldn’t find the wine
why should I tell the priest my sins
ok I lied so fucking what

code word: pencils
two quarters was all it took
for a pack of pencils
but why not take four
they stack so neatly

that time we burned down the barn
don’t worry the horses
weren’t in it
but if you put a fireplace in a tack room
under a loft full of hay
someone has to light the fire
we never made that kind of hay
but my first paper tits
were behind that barn

cherry tipped cigars
a corn cob pipe
hell we even smoked
palm leaves on easter sunday
banana skins any other saturday
seven kinds of licker
in a peanut butter jar
sugar in the gas tank
run like hell

what about the marks
on the labels
just make a new one ya dope

don’t ask how we got that firecracker
in the frogs mouth
blam!
cut the snakes head off with
a folding knife
frog egg fights
just good old fashioned
fun with flaming plastic cars
down the driveway

talking to fred flintstone
from a nickel bag laced with dirt
just plain dirt
then it was all smiley button
and steak knife
by the pool

they ended up finding the cat
‘s body in the storage room
under a pile of garbage

smoke bombs down the aisle
here kid, wanna drag
ducks ass for you
a plastic baggie of
various pills of varying shapes
in sizes and colors
oops, busted again
so fucking what

I didn’t even flinch
when he punched the locker
right next to my head
he got a frog’s eye
in a candy wrapper for that one

another use for pencils
broken just right
scratch her name into my arm
bloody “Linda”
we made out but got in trouble
for not doing more than that

the smoke bombs were store bought
but the cannon and the
stink bombs were homemade
a bunch of match heads
a bobby pin rubber band
pen cap and a copper
tube

I heard you can get extra high
if you kiss the skin of a toad

About the author

Eric Jennings

invocateur, accidental yogi, non-practicing atheist, patamystic

By Eric Jennings