Monday, August 6, 2007

Poetry Train Monday - 13 - Playground Politics Grade 4

This is the second part of a two-poem piece. The first one recounted a grade 1 experience of mine. This one happened three years later.

The friend to whom I refer in this poem is the same friend who is the subject of Precious Friend from a previous Poetry Train post.

Playground Politics Grade 4

The insurgents
No longer requiring their
Already regrouped
Taking new positions from
This morning's skirmish
I'd even rushed home
Inhaled my Kraft dinner
And stepped onto the playground
Half an hour early
To find my troops
Already kicking away

The huddled group of boys
Shoved each other toward
The hob-nailed harridans
Seeking to prove their own endurance
A primal quest toward manhood
While all we wanted
Was an excuse
To maim and bloody
Before the bell rang

Inexperienced colonel
I didn't hear the whispers
Ricochet off the walls
A coup erupted from the giggles
I hung from all fours
The girls were gone
And they dragged me
To be their
Signature victim

I couldn't face
My own invention
Far more chilling
The absence of outraged mobs
Defending the founder of their movement

I hoped their lack of action
Was due to perceived shame
I felt the snowy wool
Congeal on my skin
As I bumped along the ground

The procession halted
Mere paces from the slaughter
Unceremonious and sprawling

I saw the boys scatter
Two fists
Two feet
A wild mane of hair

My champion dispersed them

As if on cue
Every girl on the playground
Pursued the enemy
I scrambled to my feet
The urge to reclaim The Corner
Swelling in my chest like fear
My previous horror
At what I'd created
Dashed to a pulpy splat
On the asphalt

In the comfort of my desk
As we copied from the board
I stared at this class of deserters
Connie wrote behind me
We never talked
And so were not separated
As all best friends must be
I turned
And wordlessly
I picked up her eraser
Her gaze turned to me

How could her shining armour
Lay so unobtrusively
Beneath a polyester turtleneck
And Levi forest green cords?

Copyright 1987 Julia Smith


Susan Helene Gottfried said...

Wow, that DID get better from the first part! I wasn't sure how you'd do it, but you sure did.

Beautifully done, Julia!!

Amy Ruttan said...

Inhaling Kraft Dinner. Yep I remember that and I still do that.

Emily Veinglory said...

This does take me back to the dramas of the school years...

Lila Dubois said...

"While all we wanted
Was an excuse
To maim and bloody
Before the bell rang"

Awesome, love it.

This is fantastic Julia!

Julie S said...

Ah, the memories :-) Love it.

Rinda said...

Oh, this is fantastic! I remember entertaining these thoughts while watching my fourth grader on the playground last year.

Rhian / Crowwoman said...

Wow Julia! you totally channeled your inner child. It's funny how much of our child logic we forget. brought back a whole host of memories for me.

Nancy said...

I hated school and this is a reminder why. Nicely done.

Heather Harper said...

4th grade insurgents...

Life was dramatic back then, huh?

Akelamalu said...

High Drama in the Playground!

Anonymous said...

"...How could her shining armour
Lay so unobtrusively
Beneath a polyester turtleneck
And Levi forest green cords..."

This I love a lot!
Well done

"...The hob-nailed harridans..."

I've always wanted to date one of these creatures, never did get up the courage to ask one out.

Flowerpot said...

yes I loved the inhaling kraft dinner, too. Very reminiscent...

Ann said...

Very reminiscent. I missed out on most of the playground politics that year- spending most of my time in a cast and on the sidelines. Cool poem.

Anna J. Evans said...

I loved the part Lila loved. God, great poem Julia.


Anna J. Evans

Isabella Snow said...

Nice! And I love that first pic, it looks amazingly similar to my own elementary school.

Lisa Andel said...

Dang, that jogged out a memory of a bully we had at our grade school. Haven't thought of him in ages.

Sparky Duck said...

I got the jist of this one, but golly were there alot of words I needed to actually look up

Jill said...

Why do men always have to prove they are strong, even at that young age...

Anonymous said...

This is an excellent poem!

Mike M said...

WOW. Very cool! Great post!!

gautami tripathy said...

AsI am still in school, now teaching, I loved this.