Dec 24, 2009

I never knew how to date

At the ballpark the stadium swells with people,
but

I never knew how to date.
I only knew the camaraderie of a slap on the back,
a troubled smear on the cheek,
an intimate pantomime of swelled emotion.

I never knew the arcane rituals,
the runic scripts, the book of love –
never knew the caress of the cheek,
the hand on your face
before.

Never put to rote the rubrics
of subtle peck and pay the bill
before.

Only spontaneous embraces
like best friends at supper.

Sloppy kisses over sloppy joes.

Daubed anxiety
Doggerel verse
Silly adolescence clamoring for whatchamacallit and nachos,
pulling your pigtails,
mommy.

I am like a kid getting married in the street.

I am bereft of courtship vocabulary,
the “how do I take your hand” svelte.

The “When do I call for a date?” anxiety.

How do I undo your pants,
Meet your folks –
Do I call you at work?

Should I hold your hand during the national anthem?
Or do I clap your back?

I am like the boy playing grown-up in the playpen,
dressed up like Donna Reed,
My plastic skin peeling

and during the ninth inning your child stares
Eating a nodog
I had bought ten minutes before.

Awkward smiles and nonchalance,
No runs batted in and take me out to the ballgame.




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