el mártir solitario in Book of Visions

  • March 15, 2023, 12:40 p.m.
  • |
  • Public

punched in the mouth
while exiting the rear door
of a cta bus typical january
high school day five minutes

prior, I flirted mercilessly
with two public-school girls
whose smiles could convert
sodom and/or gomorrah

the boys shouted to me
from the sidewalk
get off the bus, white boy
fight like a man

and here i thought
i was acting like a man

some punk rockers i ran with
came to my aid did that guy
hit you!?
i assured them it wasn’t
worth it and exited at the next

stop. I walked back to garfield
legs wobbling, face throbbing
my best friend
red-cheeked, eyes wide
warbled in slow motion




he did not wish to invite
those fists by proxy

I’d walked into fists before
for reasons not even remotely
as important; I had been stomped
spit on just for being a kid traveling

through garfield park with long hair
a leather, and a pair of maroon docs
on my connecting bus, red graffiti
covered a picture of jesus:

el mártir solitario
I pushed forward onto the bus
for I had recited my our father
that morning - performed the sign of

the cross: en el nombre del padre y
del hijo y del espíritu san—
cut short
by the first period bell
the tone an attempt to turn

catholic school boys into priests
boys who believed that
an after-school incursion was
a struggle for christ that

a smile could save
a thousand sinners that
love, hate, and fear
often ride the same bus.

Last updated March 15, 2023

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