Upon Seeing the Hollywood Sign

“Did you ever notice,”
Tate asks as he pulls down his shorts,
“that when they ask,
‘What’s your dream?’
like they do in that stupid movie —”
he turns around to face the tall white letters —
“about the prostitute with a heart of gold —
what was it?  Oh, yeah, Pretty Woman —
that they never —
camera ready?”

I say yes, the camera is ready.

Tate opens wide his arms to The Sign,
hefted cheeks glistening, reflecting the sun,
flexing newfound freedom, a bounce…

“ — really let you choose 
off-menu?”

The phone makes the sound cameras make,
a sharp click, as if something real just happened.

“Know what I mean?”
he asks as he pulls up his lucky shorts.

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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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