Wednesday, June 16, 2010



These boys are playing at making trouble.
They board the bus from the back doors,
clamber up the step clutching skateboards.
Shoulders, feet, knees: all of these parts
test solidity. Jam a piece of the body into
stuff, a cushioned seat, the plexiglass back
door, and watch how it is disrupted. The boys
want us to watch them assess the bus, the rules
as flimsy. They ride to the beach, unsupervised
by adults, toss curse words over the heads
of passengers, rocks thrown low over water.
Shit, you see that girl, she was so damn hot,
the smaller one says. I don’t give a shit, dude,
the other, bangs flung out of his eyes, jerking
his head up, leading with the jaw. KIDS.
The driver glares in the rear view mirror
barks, Don’t you be doing that on my bus.
The boys pout, chests puffed out. The smaller one
scratches at the plastic seat beneath him
with a key, scribbling as if it were a crayon.


  1. Is it too late to add this one to the book??

  2. Hi, Hannah. I would love to hear you read this one. The prose form works wonderfully with the voice. It's a great slice of life. The boys toss curse words and "test the water" to see how far they can go. I think I know these boys. They try to act bad, yet they are uneasy and unsure of themselves.

    Two thumbs way up for showing us their childishness with "playing at making trouble" in the first line. Then you bring it back around with "scribbling as if it were a crayon" in the end. Awesome poem!

  3. Hi Hannah,

    What Julie said! I love this. At 166 words, it reads like an excellent flash fiction, and the opening and closing lines are fantastic. So many wonderful images and details, the dialogue itself, tossing curse words like skipping stones, using a key to scribble as if it were a crayon... the skateboards. You create a whole world, and two distinct boys, like themselves, but like so many other boys of a certain age. You make us see them for what they are, "struggling youth," trying to figure out who they are, confused about what it is to be a man. We see the bus driver, too, and the reaction of the passengers. All in 166 words, every word telling and essential!

    Is there a book? I would love to put your writing on my book shelves.

  4. The imagery here is just amazing. I felt like I have been on that bus with those kids. Please let me know if you have a book of poetry available.


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