Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Poetry Train - 187 - Playground Politics Grade 4

Day 16 - the A to Z Challenge continues!

For new visitors, Monday is usually poetry day, but I had a special interview for the launch of my good friend Kelly Boyce's debut western historical romance - The Outlaw Bride.

So, for this week, Tuesday will be poetry day. This is a reposting of an older poem I wrote in my 20's.

P is for Playground Politics

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 - Julia Smith, 1987


Melissa Bradley said...

Never has there been a finer description of playground warfare. This is was a visual feast for my mind's eye.

Travis Cody said...

Loved the imagery. It put me in mind of the peculiar hostility of my 4th grade year. I don't recall what set it off, but the boys and girls of the 4th grade at my school simply could not be trusted to get along unsupervised.