52 SONGS

...the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life...

Monday, March 13, 2017

10. Skateboards


My brother had one with clay wheels.
I vaguely remember it. It was loud
and amplified the tiniest ground
irregularities into joint-rattling jolts.

My first one came from K-Mart, an orange
"Moto-board"--plastic, narrow, with molded wings
over each of the four wheels.
I glided on urethane across the white driveway.

The next one arrived under the Christmas tree.
It had a fiberglass deck with pictures, beneath
a rough finish, of waves and surfing: a collage,
like the kind my sister made for her walls.

After that, I can't say. Something I bought
off a shady acquaintance from the neighborhood,
likely, one of the dudes who hung out by the ramp,
smelled like pot. The ramp was at the dead end

of a street sloping downward, twelve feet wide,
a quarter pipe. I once flew over its back
and landed head-first onto a plywood sheet
resting flat on the ground behind it.

Lightning shot through all my limbs.
Though I stood up I thought I'd broken my neck.
That ramp was eventually chainsawed to pieces
by a neighbor angry about the dudes.

My last board of consequence was a Rat Bones.
I rode it at Del Mar Skate Ranch, I brought it
to college. I used it to get to poli-sci my first
term there. My only A, which I didn't deserve.

*

The sound of kids skating down streets
of my canyoned neighborhood echoed like
a mobile cataract of water, an indicator
of energy directed for no sake, its own.

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