the memories of odds and ends

it was a small blanket
of little comfort
but necessary
red and from an airline
and carried everywhere

i always wanted to be a scientist
or superhero, like batman
I had boxes stacked in a corner
with a bookcase drawn on one side
and computers on the other
flip the switch of imagination
and there I was

I remember a skeleton key
heavy, long and brass
hung from my neck
it was magical
opening all the doors
I couldn’t see
then one day I lost it
the first trauma of
childhood innocence

one pack of garbage pail kids
for a quarter (no tax)
down at the local corner store
the neighborhood kids were
mr. labbe’s biggest customers
candy, ice cream, soda, and cards
it was a hangout for old timers
cool, quiet, and comforting
now it’s an apartment

milkshakes and fried scallops
the best in town
sat at the top of Sand Hill
obscure and not well known
glo’s place wasn’t fancy
just an old french diner
for old french men and old french women
with their catholic school grand kids

in those days the bad kids (like me)
were made to stand on the wall
during recess
a cruel punishment
by petty and frustrated nuns
made all the more so by children
in mocking play
but my father put a stop to that
still I never learned my lesson

christmas eve
cigarette smoke haunted the room
is it any wonder I love it now
the men laughed and the women hollered
deaf or hard of hearing
loud with alcohol and french blood
hard lines from
hard living drawn
on their faces
while all the children lingered
in the basement playing pool
till the time for false repentance came
midnight mass, even then it was a trip

winter wasn’t so bad in those days
we stayed out all day until we were
soaked and cold to the bone
building secret sidewalk igloo’s
and forming armies for
the great snowball battle to come
the worst thing to happen
was a black eye from a cruel iceball

growing up in the 80’s
we didn’t have
good computers or smart phones
just one lucky kid with a nintendo
we had huffy and BMX bicycles
with pegs on the front tires
for daring passengers
we had sleds’ tied to snowmobiles
racing circles madly in an open field
and a local grease monkey
who built go carts and mini bikes
adventure knew no bounds





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