We played street football; two-hand touch. The players varied in age and stage of development. That meant the older guys dominated and the younger ones learned fast. But spritely little fireflies would run past bigger defenders and still avoid the fenders of cars parked along the curb. They called me “Bambi” because I made these fingertip catches like Alworth. Anything thrown here or there I would snare with ease. And since I could breeze past my older brother’s friends to the second telephone pole, it would usually end in six points.
But, I would learn the hard way (and I pay for it until this day!) Touch football games from pole to pole steal your soul when an errant pass thrown out of control comes your way. Not another kid alive would be so dumb as to take a dive to catch one thrown into the gravel. Sliding face first up the curb, abrasions and all, it was amazing I even hung onto the ball. “If you bruise, you lose!” my brother said. “Don’t feel bad, you could’ve been dead!” For some silly reason, it didn’t make me feel better as my bloodied nose made my shirt get redder and my two front teeth lay strewn on the street, (how can I function wiffouf my fwont teef?) But with my face battered and my tongue sticking through, I looked so raccoon with my face black and blue!
It is only fun
until somebody gets hurt
with a blood stained shirt.
© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2016
In the center of our yard a flower bed grew,
a garden of beauty brought fully into view,
and in the center of the plot a pole was planted,
straight and true and never slanted
until the iron rusted after dad had died.
As a boy, I tried to shinny skyward to the top
of the flagpole that marked our place. A space
where Old Glory’s banner proudly flew, a wave
of red and white and blue unfurled and true
to mark a sailor’s port and an immigrant’s station;
a symbol of a valiant nation honored in its way.
Today the pole is gone. Fallen by rusts’s voracious
appetite. The naturalized citizen who saluted in reverence
to the land of his preference has been laid to rest.
The proud chest of the sailor rises and falls no more
his ship moored in its silent shore, his dutiful chore
is done. The memory of these people and places
is etched, their faces tattooed on hearts and minds that
held them dear. All that remains here is this banner aloft
crisp and clean, flown to keep their memories alive!
(C) Walter J. Wojtanik, 2015
A Memorial Day and childhood memory written to Poetic Asides Prompt #306 – Childhood
my grandfather’s cigar,
aromatic and sweet.
held between his teeth,
an added appendage,
a trademark of sort.
by all reports, the cause
of the blaze in his back room.
no doom befalling, quickly
calling the fire department,
a quick dousing as delousing.
smoky haze through heater vents
was tell-tale. Without fail,
he quit smoking in the house.
~Walter J. Wojtanik
Poetic Asides by Robert Lee Brewer – prompt 306: Childhood
I sit along the shore, mesmerized
by waves in their cyclical samba
rolling and trolling on the lake
of hopeful dreams. Screams of children
playing in the surf, scattering –
chattering in an endless drone
screeches and squeals, peels
of raucous running and splashing,
flashing sunshine from their gleeful
eyes. Skies, blue and reflective
subjected to the whimsy of wide-eyed
wonder under the spell of tides.
There comes a lull, children
amassed like seagulls, charging &
retreating. Bleating like sea birds,
indistinguishable in their spirit.
You can hear it in the children’s joy.
(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik – 2014
“If you bruise, you lose!” my brother said.
“Don’t feel bad, you could’ve been dead!”
For some silly reason, it didn’t make me feel better
as my bloodied nose made my shirt get redder
and my two front teeth strewn on the street,
(how can I function without my front teef?)
Touch football games from pole to pole
and an errant pass throw out of control
Not another kid alive would be so dumb
To take a dive to catch one thrown into the gravel.
Sliding face first up the curb, abrasions and all,
It’s amazing I even hung onto the ball.
But with my face battered and my tongue sticking through,
I looked so raccoon with my face black and blue!
© Copyright Walter J. Wojtanik – 2013