An alien across the overpass

I can safely predict that this will not be the last post about the five hours a week I volunteer for the Boys & Girls Clubs. The vault is already filled with captivating personalities, unusual conversations, and frequent meditations on chaos. Chaos is the best one-word description of what each day brings.

What strikes me about after-school program I work at is how alien the students and even the Boys & Girls Clubs can be. The focus is on high school graduation, as less than half of the students in the communities served are able to finish. Coming from independent private schools, it would have been utter madness to aim so low. Expectations started high and then were jacked even higher- advanced classes, SAT prep, college visits to the Ivy League and their kin. The question was about what high-power profession you desired after your posh education. It would not be an exaggeration to say that my first girlfriend was, and still is, an aristocrat- not only focused on wealth and influence, but to the point that lower rungs of society don’t exist.

Back in high school I considered myself socially conscious. My leftist politics emphasized egalitarianism, ending imperialism, and improving the lives of the poor and ostracized. However “minorities” was a demographic accompanied by a depressing statistic. I wasn’t referring to people I knew or had seen- I used the same tone to talk about nuclear weapons stockpiles.

I drive a couple miles, across a highway overpass into a small residential neighborhood. It’s the same city, with the same police, same recycling pickup, same city council. But there is one key difference.

I am a minority.

Continue reading “An alien across the overpass”

Hushed, long silent but now urgent beyond all measure

The past is constructed with large portions excised

A jigsaw puzzle missing the bridge arching over the brook

In the bottom left corner beneath a pale blue sky

The few lines of text give

No meaning within besides that which you feel

Sparkle within your weary heart

She turns to you, and only you

Entering the doorway with her back to a pall

Of a past you did not know

The checkbook slides across the marble table

A pen clicks once,

Twice more, anxiety bubbling

Yes, money

But for what, to whom?

Facing the past, or running away again-

Will this poem describe not one moment but two

Three, more?

Wrinkled brow and a tortured, lingering glance

The pen clicks once more, the checkbook slides away

The sun comes up as a new day dawns

And ushers forth the leaves falling, the nights darkening

A chill that stays long past its welcome

Only tired hope thinks that you’re still

Here

Alive

Was the slow shake of the head merely the

Conductor’s cue for a dirge?