“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,



Warmth permeated my being.

Unlike any other feeling I’d ever felt before.

Stretched me out.



A feeling of float.

A high wire traveler.

Warm in the cold.



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.


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.


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.



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.





“Seasoned Traveler”



“Seasoned Traveler

Bon voyage!

Crashing waves wash away your permanence.

Chasing away the inequity of man.

A transplanted farmer’s tan, lingers a touch longer.

Tide us over until the New Moon.

Like squeezing water from a rock,

me like a hurricane.

Solarcaine pain.

Coppertone drain.

Summer’s last days.

Diminishing rays.

Wind picking up, in a serious tone.

Leaves leave trees on a leisurely breeze.

Fall down deep and crisp the soil.

Dog droppings play hide and seek among the yarmulke yellows, rosacea reds, greedy greens, and broken browns.

Air feels fumic on the lungs.

Naked trees reach up into the sky.

Clouds push down and leer at the hills for their obstinacy.

Plastic bags caught on power lines flip, flap, flippity-flappity. 

Solitary traveler whistling past the graveyard.

Traveling toward the final embrace.

Numbness, sweet airy buzz.

Apply the thing that makes it stop.

Reverent resonance required,

batteries are included.

Winter will come,


“To Do List…”

“Lost List” © C.P. Hickey 2017

“To Do List…”

It is said that St. Jude is the patron saint of lost causes.

Does that include lost shopping lists?

First thoughts upon finding an abandoned shopping list include, but are not limited to:

  • Who’s getting married? Did they make the right decision? What bakery will bake their cake since they are a same-sex couple?
  • What kind of bread is needed? Rye, pumpernickel, French?
  • 9-volt batteries fit snugly into fire alarms.
  • Cheese gets moist and runny if left to its own devices at room temperature.
  • small tomato sauce is, small.
  • string beans are either delicious, or taste like nothing.
  • Why “paper towels only”? Wouldn’t a box of tissues be nice too?
  • tuna? oil or water?
  • salad, fruit, onions (are these separate items or is it a salad of fruit and onions? also, tomatoes are fruit.)
  • only one thing on the list was crossed out.


What happened to the person,

that made this shopping list?

Abducted at the storefront,

before items were missed.


Did the table at the wedding,

notice they weren’t there?

Did a fruit and onion salad,

suddenly appear?


St. Jude’s been checking Google Maps,

for traces of this soul.

A crumpled list was left behind,

requesting a paper towel roll.


We can’t discover what was done,

or, all that’s left to do.

The inconclusive list shown here,

provides the slimmest clue.


When next I go to corner store,

I’ll check the carts to see.

Perhaps, the cart’s items will show,

the list’s author to me.




“Planner, or Pantser?”


“Don’t Daunt Dear Derring-do” © C.P. Hickey 2017


Planner or pantser?

A romanced, tiny dancer?

Depends, on which way the wind blows.


One thing for certain,

esteem will start hurting,

unless you try writing by rote.


Lines and quick phrases,

come down in phases,

only when ass is in chair.


Quit your complaining,

I’m clearly disdaining,

your self-propagated despair.


Writing’s not simple,

despite your snarked dimples.

You talk about, but can’t follow through.


The strength of your art,

will come from the start,

when you are finally committed to.


Lines are imbued,

on readers who view,

that which exists in this realm.


You can’t convey meaning,

without conscious streaming,

and driving it on from the helm.


Nothing is probable,

unless held accountable,

one must to it, post-haste.


Explaining why,

the word well is dry,

begets a contemptible waste.


You’ll find no respite,

from writers that get it.

No, you can’t ask for my sympathy.


You’d do better, dear writer,

to create and inspire,

than make excuses endlessly.


Wasting one’s time,

is a capital crime,

in the world of creativity.


If much the worse,

perhaps you change course,

and leave writing to authors like me.