BackAlley Jack

Learning from the best. A new story.

“Our future’s so bright we gotta wear shades.”

Every graduation speech, ever

Everyone tells stories in high school, about what they do and who they get with.   The baseball team at Van Nuys High School, 13000 Oxnard Street, Van Nuys, California, was a great source of these stories.  Whether they were true or not — that didn’t matter. They kept our minds from imploding under the weight of Curricular Standards of Achievement. 

It was 1985, and we were all just waiting to get out into the world, any world. And when that seemed impossible, or would take too long, we took matters into our own hands.  It’s called in Educational Literature “The Creative Relationship to Boredom.”

Where would we be without boredom?  Probably still eating raw meat.

There was Toby “the Bat” Bauer, slugger, blond, a man-child who would eventually go bald and who, it seemed, could inspire quite a few of the teachers.


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The silver anklets on my dark feet

Quiet, mesmerizing, until it shouts inside your head.

A beautiful day

My beautiful brown skin,
Dark and invisible for some minds
Overlooked and forgotten by some eyes
My dark skin, in it’s feelings and memories
Is all the angst, the shame it was made to feel
And the way it felt vulnerable

My dark skin, it should have always known-
How it loved the nights more than the days
How it loves the deepest shades of night
I should have worn my silver anklets on my dark feet, a thousand years ago
I should have worn my crowns, the way I own it now

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