Thursday, May 6, 2010

Corner Kick

There was this sketchy little kid at the end of the block
with a shoebox full of sluggers and a robot that could talk
he didn’t have no friends, no one called him on the phone
and when he came around I’d pretend I wasn’t home

His dad died in the war, his mom was always on a bender
drove a yellow Grand Marquis with duct tape wrapped around a fender
he always walked to school always staring at his shoes
the first one tagged in dodgeball and the last one that we’d choose

Always wore an army coat, too big and kind of brown
always had some bruise from hitting doors or falling down
nobody really talked to him, was like he wasn’t there
kind of like a fencepost with a mop of matted hair

One night, I think in April, just before the sun was gone
a couple of police cars pulled up and parked there on his lawn
his mom was out front cursing, screaming, spitting at the cops
somehow got a free hand and she punched one in the chops

and I saw the kid come walking out and climb in the cop’s backseat
you could hear his mama’s yelling echo up and down the street
and he looked out the window and I saw his pale face
and he just looked kind of tired but there wasn’t no disgrace

he looked just like he always did, just bored and blank and sad
and he didn’t cry or look afraid or mean or scared or mad
and that’s exactly how he looked as the cop car drove away
the same nobody nowhere look that he wore every day

The cops, they never brought him back, he never came around
his mom packed up the Marquis and she steered it out of town
the house sat empty for awhile, was razed and built again
and then my buddy Frankie and his family moved in

The kids at school had stories, but none of them were true
I could’ve told them what I saw but no one really knew
and we kind of just forgot as dust and pine tar filled the air
and no one really – like I said, was like he wasn’t there.

[from the archives. mid-90's]


Moanerplicity said...

Deep. This was poetic storytelling at its finest. It makes a reader wonder about those lost souls and children who keep their own secrets of abuse. It makes me remmeber a certain kid from my childhood, who always looked unkempt, and appeared so loveless, and he too never realy spoke to anyone. Even though I couldn't put it into words, I knew something wasn't right with him. I sensed a deep unhappiness. I sensed there might have been abuse in his home. Sometimes, on days such as this, when reading your words, I wonder whatever HAPPENED to him. If he's still even breathing air.

I pray he isn't cold or hard or continuing that vicious circle of silence by secretly by abusing someone.

Deep piece, man.


Julie said...

This is such a powerful (and important) piece. I think we all know this kid, grieve for him, and hope everything turned out alright for him. What especially kicked me in the gut was the image of him...not as angry or disgraced...but just blank and sad. As always, your narrative form is wonderful, Joaquin. The story is one that needs to be told. Thank you for sharing it here.

Karen said...

I concur with Julie completely. (I hate it when she gets here first! Then I'm just nodding my head.) :-)

Too many children we lose. Too many the cops and the protective services won't help. Heartbreaking, and in describing his blank, sad face, you make it come alive.

Ink Champagne said...


You've probably noticed I've been back and forth on your blog over the past couple of days, reading all your fantastic back-work.

Firstly, there are so many great poems on here that I'd like to comment on, but think I'd be identified as a spammer if I did.

So... I chose to comment on this one. Why? Because it made me cry when I read it. So, so sad. Expertly written, I think it was the dejected, resigned silence that choked me.

On another note:
Thank you so much for adding me to your 'trip the blogs fantastic' list; I'm honoured.

It's a dead-cert I'll be looking forward to Thursdays from now on! :)