Beyond Baroque

     My older sister Laura and our younger brother Greg are big eaters and fat.  Mom drinks a lot of wine, and Dad’s a liberal version of Archie Bunker; he doesn’t call anyone meathead, but is generous with the term lardass.  When the phone rings during supper, it’s a sure thing that Mom’s gonna rise to answer.

     SIT- SIT- SIT.   

     If Grandpa’s over for dinner, he’ll mutter it’s a Shande for the Goyim, and when Dad gets going, Laura and Greg’s forks accelerate, Mom takes a long drink off her wine glass, and I tremble; a nervous, scarred, comedic mask curtains my face; I don’t think anything’s funny, the expression just happens, chameleon like. 


     The room fills with hushed scrapings of metal flatware on chipped ceramic plates.  My comedy turns to tragedy; all eyes fixate downward, mine on a salt shaker.  My pre-teen mentality doesn’t understand why things are so messed up.  How can the man who taught me how to bait a hook and cast a fishing line be so mean?  

     Boy honey, that macaroni and cheese really hit the spot.  Dad always pretends nothing’s happened after he blows up. 

     The years leading up to my first semester of High School were filled with such dinners; leaving me skittish and ill-prepared.

     It’s a hot and clammy September, my first two weeks at Hollywood High.  I’m fifteen, skinny, and under-developed.  I just want a girlfriend, and to feel like I fit in…somewhere.  I hate eating lunch alone.

Not only does my skin not fit…It crawls with self-disgust

My counterfeit leather boots are cheap vinyl,

Like traces of gas in a puddle…They shine an iridescent rainbow

I wanted faded “501’S” but wear…“Monkey Wards” counterfeit denim

Eric has long hair and a bright, tie-dye tee shirt

He knows the way…so I follow him to the palace

The walls are decorated in 70’s black light contemporary

Quadraphonic stereo holds the 8 Track Tape…like the Juke plays licorice pizza

Dark Side of the Moon is the wedding song… John Barleycorn’s my best man…Mary Jane I soon wed

I settle into the warmth of the altar, my skin fits better