For All the Good It Did Us

by Jim Daniels

I smiled at the gate of Lord Larry, the Boy
with the Swimming Pool.  The small plastic /
rubber / aluminum circle stand-in
for Ye Olde Swimming Hole
that existed in the TVs of our imagination
without gate or necessary invitation.

Thus, the teethy grin, the invasion
of the Aw Shucks, the revelatory invention
of the casual coincidence, of thus, me,
in proximity to thus fence where yonder
I espy Lord Larry aswimming in the pool!
Hark, Lord Larry, may I thus join you, hap that I
be wearing me trunks of the swimming, aye?

Alas, Lord Larry remembereth
onceth or twiceth I doth hath calleth him
weenie dickface (in a fond manner,
I beseechethed on my honour!)
So, I was forewith sent forth
into banishment to the Forest
of Concrete and cheap water balloons
and ye olde waving sprinkler of my youth.

Pools of the above-ground nature lived lifetimes
the opposite of dog years — torn liner, rusted
whatever, slime and clogged filter, dead bugs . . .
And winter!  The season of discontent despite
snowballs and boot hockey in the street.
It was like, hey, what birds
are gonna come back in spring?

Lord Larry got demoted by his beer-barreled papa
who re-found Jesus and planned backyard
baptisms in the winter only to leave
Lady Larry’s Mom in the dust,
the sawdust, climbing the ladder to nowhere
around the now-bare circle of dirt in their yard.
Hmmp, you say, hmmp.

Where’d the time go?  Summer’s
already over.  My shift starts
in twenty-three minutes, and my steel-toed boots
have not de-slicked yesterday’s sweat,
but I throw them and my lunch bucket
into the waiting car honking its evil horne.

Lord Larry went on to — well,
Dickface is working besideth me
on yonder assembly line
and it’s his car I be entering, slamming
the door on any moral
this thing mighta had.
Hot one today, Larry says.
And I run outta smart responses to that
a long time ago.