Friday, May 11, 2012

Raging Bulls

We were just a couple of
Neighborhood kids
Me and Saul
Like two throwaway
Pairs of sneakers or
Discarded baggage
Too heavy and too costly
For our impoverished families
To take real notice
Of anything that we did or
Didn’t do

Like the time we found
Ourselves with a lot of time
On our hands
One hot summer afternoon
Bored out of our minds
Without two nickels
To rub together between us

In the Gravesend Bay area
Where we lived
Large barges were often parked
Tied up to pier moorings
That ran the entire length of
Gravesend Park
Where we kids would
Get together for
Pick up games of
Stick ball and basketball

On this particular afternoon
Saul suggested that we
Take a little cruise

What are you talking about?
If you think I’m going
To go along with
Stealing another car
You can think again
That last gambit you pulled
Nearly ended our careers
Before we ever even got started

I didn’t steal the damn thing
He protested
I merely borrowed it
From my cousin Vinny
(In our hood
Everyone had a cousin Vinny)
He said that I could drive it
Whenever I wanted

Yeah, that’s a good one
I countered
Even the judge got a good laugh
Out of that one

Forget you!
You talk and act
Like a little girl
Why don’t you grow a pair
And try them on for size for once?

Okay hot shot
What do you have in mind?

Saul jumped to his feet
Just follow me he said
Taking off for the place
Where several empty
City garbage scows were
Tied up to the pier

Before I knew it
Saul had vaulted the fence
He looked back at me
Smiling that crooked
Half crazed smile of his
Before jumping into the barge
That was the object of his affection

I hesitated at first
Then quickly followed suit

Throw off the lines
Yelled Saul
Sounding like a veteran sailor
Aye, aye captain
(Might as well have fun with it
I thought
Besides what was the worst
That could happen?)

We grabbed some seats
And let the tide take us
Wherever it wanted

Some hours later
We had to be rescued
By Coast Guard helicopter
Before we sailed
Half-way to England

We were escorted
Back to Gravesend Park
In grand style

It had all been
An innocent mistake
Your Honor
Don’t you know

Just a couple of slum kids
On a hot summer afternoon
With nothing much to do

(We even made the six o’clock news!)

Philadelphia, Pa. 2012

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