“Teenage Wasteland”

 

“Teenage Wasteland”

 

My first real taste of beer,

happened at seventeen.

An apprehensive sip,

from a gloved hand,

on a colder than usual fall night.

Huddled in the concrete bivouacs of the Warren Prescott Schoolyard.

 

It presented itself oddly,

from a familiar yet friendly hand.

 

The crackle-crunch explosion of the air and carbonation,

escaped from the can,

encouraged me a bit.

A masculine sound,

I had come to associate with my father.

Although, he preferred Miller High Life.

 

My adventure wrapped itself in Budweiser Red, White, and Blue.

The thrill of underage drinking electrified my nervous system.

Wrong felt right.

Communal crimes created camaraderie.

 

I blew the head off the can, as the others did.

Brought it to my lips.

Effervescent ozone twinkled on my lips.

Tickled my tongue.

Teased my throat.

Tastebuds registered tinny sweaty metallic pumpernickel sour.

I didn’t like the taste, as the others did.

Repetition of each chalky mouthful ensued,

until.

 

Warmth permeated my being.

Unlike any other feeling I’d ever felt before.

Stretched me out.

Long.

Out-of-body.

A feeling of float.

A high wire traveler.

Warm in the cold.

Buzzing.

 

Empty can crushed, tab pocketed to keep score.

A new can was passed over to me.

More crackle-crunch explosion of air and carbonation,

escaped the can,

further encouraged me.

Thoughts of masculinity.

Dad again.

Floated up out of the concrete bivouac bunker off of Bunker Hill Street,

in the shadow of Breed’s Hill.

Boozed.

Bred new vice.

 

Kept tabs in pocket, as the others did.

Chatted up friends.

Outrageous claims.

Reindeer games.

Pulled up, on the reins.

Had to be home by ten o’clock.

Dad couldn’t know.

 

Bladder full.

Zipper pulled.

Released.

Bladder emptied.

Steam rose from the brick wall,

as luminescent urine dappled the tarred ground.

Zipped up, and off.

 

For a time,

all motion slowed,

reality warped.

Chased after myself.

Chased home

Chased the buzz.

 

Fast forward to five years later.

Floated along an interstate.

Not buzzing, but buzzed.

Too drunk.

Last stages.

Trust forever in friends,

to get us wherever we needed to go.

Combat zone to hustle honeys.

Consumed sin.

Hampton.

Camping.

Salisbury Beach.

Summer jaunts.

Impaired by liquid bravery.

Made it easier to chat up young women.

Chased the buzz.

 

The backseat window opened up,

a crackle-crunch explosion of air and carbonation,

rushed in,

further encouraged  me.

A collective of masculinity,

cruised down the highway.

Father knew best.

 

Highway lights: the pulsing metronome in my peripheral vision.

Night precision driving.

And then…

A song exploded onto the scene.

Sonic boom.

Vibrant vibrations.

Guttural guttersnipe guitar,

rang the shriek of death out of life.

Displayed an affinity for thumbed noses at death.

Fretted away frets,

fret by fret.

Strung along.

Strung out.

Wielded plastic pick.

Further encouraged me to ride half-assed, half-cracked, and half-baked into the void.

 

Eyes closed,

arms open.

Rhythm delivered.

Speakers bounced.

Baba O’Riley transformed the horizon into a teenage wasteland.

We lived in it.

It lived in us.

Outer and inner reality forever changed.

The crescendo made us feel like fiddlers on the roof.

 

Rushed, no, buzzed.

Buzzed into the warm embrace of things being okay.

Budweiser beer okay.

 

A crackle-crunch explosion of air and carbonation,

sailed forth from the speaker,

further encouraged me.

Opened containers, as the others did.

Thoughts of masculinity

 

I didn’t want Dad to know.

But, Dad already knew.

He travelled that road before.

 

We floated on, up, and out.

Buzzed like bees on a breeze.

Budweiser buddies.

Beguiled, bewildered, and bamboozled by youth.

Spent frivolously against life’s ledger.

Debt incurred.

Passions spurred,

further encouraged.

Tabs kept.

 

Man, those were some great fucking times.

 

 

 

 

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