Trash-talk. Heart on one’s sleeves.
Girls. Tattoos and scraped knees/
Random talk of beautiful,
myth, foolish, heady girls/
more girls. Brittle desires unfurl.
Always chasing alien smells
Daisy, Oudh, Tulip – are flowers,
though one thinks otherwise,
through our own sock-stinks.
We don’t know how to
keep one until we thirty-four.
But still we keep score!
Our mothers are great at
making us believe make-believe.
We are heroes, and princes, though of
what, one never knows. Locker-room hi-5s,
jokes about broken bones, facial hairs,
and body-shaming, though no one cries,
or knows what is body-shaming.
Mother calls, father
calls, sister calls, over and over,
until one picks, though this lasts
only a few minutes. Later, more trash-talk.
Smelly socks. Low waist jeans. House
and Hip-hop. Talk of poetry, computer-chips, Jazz,
books, porno, how to douse the smell of whiskey
before coming home – yes! For so long,
we are moulds of someone
else’s dreams. Until one comes
into one’s own. Smells of semen, sweat,
Protein shakes, Brut, cornflakes, the rubbery inside
of a punctured basketball.
Speak less, show less, meaning play
tough-ball. Stay away from mush, never
be the mush, the emo.
Fist-bumps and fist-fights.
Brittle. Emotions. More trash talk.
We grow, slowly, without knowing.