As I look back at this trebled year (and then some) it was as of a long
gray night for me;
It was cold as a witch’s tit in the middle of winter, soaring, hanging in flight;
overall swallowed up by booze, and soon to be swallowed up by the
A decade that would draw me around the dark part of the moon, and then
And as the last year of High School proceeded: secure, and impregnable,
it was but an amusement:
I was a young lad, perhaps a little more than that, roaring for life, and life
was not there, not fully-and I was dying, dying tidy and cursed, and
worse: cooed into the conciliatory cages called classrooms-
I was toying with this year, missing sixty-four days: graduating in mist of
haze! But graduating all the same.
I even made it to the prom; it was like going to the moon.
My life had been up to this point, more of a stomping, gutter kicking, and
blood spitting, teeth grinding, cock fighting, booze drinking frenzy; funny I never ended up in a reformatory, or alike: and during this final year I
was simply hopscotching around the school in my midnight-Plymouth!
I made myself diminutive, unseen: the clandestine boy with the crumpled
Looking for more of the fullness of life: slashed eyed, awaiting, roaring!
I was forevermore, restless: and it wasn’t the High School per se: but
life, waiting for it to start, which was like: wading through an inlet, of
thickly grown weeds, and cobble stoned deep floored.
Had I not graduated, it would have broken my mother’s heart: this I knew
and this I couldn’t do!
All my friends from Como Jr. High were now under that same umbrella,
the roof of Washington High; the shift was made from one school to the
other in ’62-: to this new hornets’ nest!
Now standing on those cemented steps of Washington High, where the
upper tiers were dedicated to my roughhousing friends from Donkeyland, I was tapered into the quenchless pilgrimage of a new
All during this year I was reaching out for other adventures yet
unforeseen: daydreaming, day after day trying to march to the tune, and the colors of the high school, then I’d disappeared, for a day or two,
to some milled dust hideaway to drink and get drunk: it was for no other reason than intoxication, even back then; I lived in the
silent center of a cyclone: halfcocked, colored like a fired red fox;
The next day, somehow I’d find my way back to Washington High!
I was not trying to impress: nor ever and ever to find a way to be hailed,
with the golden fleece nor to jump out of the vale mist as it rises
and to be on every page of the yearbook, yet to be printed; although
that was befitting for whomever dreamed of such dreams-I held no
envy, I was who I was.
I was dreaming of traveling the world and beyond, beyond the emblems of
the Stars and Stripes, to even where the Crucifixion of Christ took place; to war and drunkenness and fights, and whores, and it was all but a
cup of tea for me, trying to rid my life of this year!
A year that held me back, and then some: to whatever I’d end up to be, I
would be, I figured, and that would have to do: that perhaps was my
motto, philosophy (yes it was); I’d learn whatever I had to learn, later
And as for friends, alas, had they come along, would have been but a
handkerchiefs in my back pocket!… wrong or right, coup de grace!
And I won an award, of all things, in art, and was asked to address the
auditorium that year, and all I could think to say was,
“What more can I say but thanks!”
And all applauded, and I was baffled: in goose-skin in an ox scorching
overheated auditorium, with 750-adolecents:
It was like an intermediate stop in my life for me: and my stomach twined
as if ice leaved the strata of my flesh.
What was I missing here?
“Why,” I asked myself, “… all the fuss?”
Did people really notice?
I mean art was just a passion, no more!
I never even knew the art instructor, Mr. Magnuson had put my art into the
citywide contest: the 9th annual “Best 100 Art Show”
I never even said yes or not, all considered, it was a good omen and it
made my mother proud! And that made me happy.
As for me, I didn’t care one way or the other, someone bought it for $25.00
dollars, a collector, and I had a long boozed-up weekend.
And then in that year, two of my poems were published in the High School
newspaper, “Beyond Man,” and “Typing” again, two coincidences;
later on in life they would be put into my first book: “The Other Door!”
These were things that would of course follow me the rest of my life.
Perhaps that made just enough of a pause in my life, to cause me, later
on to take a longer look at this; poetry was my escape from my
neighborhood, as was art: no more, no less!
A way for my soul to have peace and rest, and talks with God.
My first poem being written at twelve, about God, Christ; whom would
remain throughout my life, dominant; and sorry to say, at long intervals
throughout my life: pushed aside, but never did he leave me!
Christ, he was the father I never had! (Who spoke to me when I was ten,
and told me then, what I’ve just told you.)
So there was an undercurrent in my life, that would extend throughout my
lifetime: from High School, to War, to a half dozen colleges, to Peru.
I’d study: art and literature, psychology, sociology, anthropology,
theology, philosophy, trying to figure out I suppose, the unknowable.
And so this was the year of ‘no thanks and no regrets, a trebled year at
And these now high school friends, were my old friends, from Como Park
Jr. High: Diane S., whom was seemingly conservative and nice, I’d meet her later on in life, we’d walk and talk some, on her way home to her
apartment near Lexington and Rice; and there was, Dan W., he and I once had a fight, but remained friends, and then sometime down the
road; some years beyond high school, he’d remind me how much a fool I was with the girls, how inflexible-; I guess I didn’t care if I dated or
not, or what I got from them-evidently he did: but how right he was, I was a jerk, but I never pretended to be this or that to get what I wanted from
a girl (like men often do), I was who you saw, no more no less; and there was Jack W.,-distant old pals; and Soderberg who worked on my
devil-black Plymouth in his father’s garage that raced around school as if it was a racetrack: hell on wheels; and Ray; Susan S., whom I dated but
twice, too highbrow for me: whom I’d meet in a bar, in thus, three years thereafter, and she’d reprimand me for being a drunk: perhaps she was
shell-shocked, she surely was right; I was all of that and then some!
But she never answered me, why she was there too!
And there was my old pal Robert R., making his way through High School,
he had changed, and I, well, I didn’t much… ; and Dennis S., not me, the other tough moving metaphor; whom would become a preacher, and wed
his High School sweetheart!
And Kathy K. (a Cheerleader), whom always had a nice smile for me,
wrote in my yearbooks: one, two three; and Mike F., (he and I did some roller-skating back then); Fred, Bradley, Brown, and Laurel B., (who loved her Spanish class), we extended into the ’80s; bosom buddies, if indeed a
woman can be called such.
And there was Linda M., sweet as a daisy, we walked in Como Park
one afternoon, whatever for, perhaps she was in despair, disheartened, I gave her counsel, as if I was wise enough to, she was wiser than I, I do
believe, for she knew one thing, it would take me half a life time to
learn: men do not think like women, nor do women think like men?
And there was the fight I had in the Cafeteria, I almost got expelled for.
And there was the fight I had gotten into with the teacher in woodshop, and
that too nearly got me expelled, so they put me in Algebra, which I wouldn’t do, and then in Journalism, that I loved! And got along well with
Mr. Andvik, I think? Although Algebra, I’d have to do in College, which again didn’t seem all that interesting, until when I studied Geometry, years
later as a machinist, I loved.
And there was Mr. Turner and I, who once or twice didn’t see eye to eye,
who kicked me out of the last dance in school for having beer on my breath, I think I was even dancing with Gayle J., but besides this, we
were okay, he put me in the hallway to keep peace and order, He must
have figured I was Wild Bill Hickok.
And there was Margie M., a dark-haired beauty, always serious
looking, she seemed to be everywhere, knowing everybody, she was a cheerleaders too (I never really got to know her well, but she was there: I think
she liked poetry as well… )
And of course back to Gayle Johnson (a cheerleader also, a year behind
me), who had no equal, and wrote in my yearbook, “I love you” if only I would have known her by name-but the angels kept her name from me: a
puzzle until 2003; and perhaps saved her a lifetime of misery (to be quite honest I didn’t chase her because I thought she deserved someone
better: she did call me up in ’94, and I couldn’t recognize her)-
I didn’t attempt any baseball games, nor attended them, I did other things:
weight lifting, and thereafter got into karate, solo things, etcetera…
I was like driftwood, the rhymer in the short tongued room; like the tigers
and snakes and baboons, at the Como Zoo; like the clawed
hawks, awaiting to ascend, just waiting, and waiting to seize the sky and all
that’s in it-
No: 4533 (8-28-2014)
Deducted to: Mr. John McManus (The author’s art instructor, at Washington High School,
Passed on 2013)