Pique/Peek/Peak

Pique

like a kid sitting on the floor

at the Scholastic Fair

debating stealing a book

because he can’t afford it

eats public assistance at lunch

can already see the looks of shame

on the faces

of his parents

when they walk into the principal’s office

so he doesn’t

so he puts it back

and tries to picture imagined worlds

his mind won’t be shown.

Peek

like hearing “don’t peek”

from the lips

of his first girlfriend

removing her bra straps

audibly

and the space between them is filled

with electricity

and when they touch

it’s a revelation

and when they finish

he tells her stories

disguised fictions

makes them up on the spot

like he did

as a kid

when the only time you heard

“don’t peek”

was during a game

of hide and seek

Peak

like seeing your name

on the cover

of a book

and you don’t know

how it got there

even though you do

don’t know

the steps that got you

from point A to B

and if you try real hard

you can almost see

the kid that would go hungry

can almost see

the kid with ripped-up

hand-me-down

jeans

and eyes that wanted

but couldn’t always

see

and now you’re at the top

of a tall

tall peak

breathing in the thin air

and seeing all

you can see

Ode to Des Plaines

We’ve got locust plagues

in the form of summertime cicadas that

sap the will to live with their cries before

attaching themselves to shirt backs,

the car seats of those foolish enough to crack

the windows of their AC-less beaters.

Yearly deluges from the Des Plaines River,

to the point where canoe is viable transport.

Wailing and gnashing of teeth

in the unincorporated part of town (where I’m from),

where the primary forms of entertainment are drug use

and drag racing on roads that are more pothole than street.

The city’s claims to fame include being the site

of the Flight 191 crash back in ’79

(still the deadliest aviation accident to occur on U.S. soil);

the hunting grounds of killer clown John Wayne Gacy;

and the hometown of the world’s first Mickey D’s.

Yet with all of that said, here I am anyway.

The prodigal son returned.

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