NPM 23

Edit: I swear I hit “Publish” on this last night, but I guess I only hit “Save Now”

Out Past Curfew Pt. 1

I knew they were there I knew they were there I knew they were there

but I couldn’t see them

at least not yet.

Didn’t know they’d use him like that didn’t know they’d come after us

didn’t know this would be the first time I’d throw a punch—

a sequence of punches—

that would actually land

or at least have landings that I remember.

Some lessons I learned to forget

like my speeches about sophisticated dolphin civilizations

and their underwater cities and my endless glee

sitting on the playground two houses down

from a house I used to live in with the creepy room

at the end of the attic with the burn marks on the wood.

A friend tried to get her phone to record my meanderings,

but it turned a deaf ear

and, drunk, I illustrated the dophins’ speech patterns by banging on a stop sign

some time after two in the morning and roused a neighbor

(also drunk)

who pulled a gun on me that I don’t remember seeing.

My friends dragged me away to safety

but I wasn’t there so I turned to one friend

and belted him and he saw stars,

the same ones we’d been before,

shooting through the atmosphere

in ignorance and fermentation.

The next day he told me we went on for a half hour this way,

and by the time it was over

the neighbor had exchanged his gun for a bottle.

My brain began recording again just as the bottle intersected with my forehead,

right at the hairline.

I shook it off

turned to the guy

and said

you just broke a bottle over my head

paused, said,

well, see ya!

and staggered off.

At the crosswalk

two blocks later two girls I saw from the party earlier saw me

and asked me why my face was bleeding and I said something like

I don’t know,

apparently some people

have a problem

with nice guys

and I continued on my merry way home.


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