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

they’re

coming

back!

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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