Poetry from Patrick DeCarlo

High School Locker Room
By Patrick DeCarlo

Was it the same for other boys
Slinking out of and into a shirt quick as quick in
The high beam balance of staying and leaving, unnoticed:

Hiding their parts that had not yet grown
Amid the violent flashing of muscle and sweat?
Was it the same for other boys

Whose lockers terrified but comforted
With only what our peripheries could give–
That high beam balance of leaving and staying, enjoying

The stubbled valleys between matured chests,
The tanned sinews like water starved farmland.
Was it the same for other boys

Who left unfulfilled and hating themselves
Like wives with impotent husbands
The high beam balance of staying and leaving, blaming

Their bodies, their wetness, themselves
Because a lover did not want them.
Was it the same for other boys, terrifed
In the high beam balance of leaving and staying, noticed?

Perspective Excercise: The Grifters
By Patrick DeCarlo

Cracked timber board in the foreground.
Ruler drawn railway swallowed
By an old tyme tunnel–its arc
Sandstone and clay–so perfectly far
You could dip your hand into the construction paper,
Prick a finger on a lonesome cactus.

We learn tricks like paper boys
Reading all about it, dusted up
And grinning like we were told to.

Our fathers were the best liars
Photoshopping their lives into lessons
about grit and come-uppance.
Their serialized adventures of bi-planes
flaming into the sunset, tail torn,
no chutes, a stick full of dynamite
and a bad attitude, swallowed into
the last page: The End.

The fiery crash, where the real lessons were learned,
I never heard those stories.

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