after Soto, sorta

The girls did not like me.

They tried not to talk with me.

They sure didn't walk with me.

If my crush had an orange mixed

with lint in her jacket pocket, I would

snatch it and fire a rocket at the window.

Brute force flirtation, a time-tested

technique—yoyoyo, troglodytes unite!

I hollered lyrics from (36 Chambers);

girls quickly learned that I, like the Wu,

was not nothing with which to fuck.

December. Robert Frost weather. Crack-

heads packed drugstores. I strolled past,

hunting for gutter pennies. When I found

twenty, I went to Nutting’s: penny candy.

Sour Patch Kids swam in sugary seas. But

stop. Unlike Updike and Soto, I saw no

candy-rack gym bleachers. It was candy time,

damn it, I ain’t got no time for tropes!

The saleslady’s veiny, grubby-ass hands

dug out kids. I knew she knew little.

I scooped some to my mouth posthaste.

Green, yellow first. Mix ‘em. Lemon-

lime bodies teeth-gnashed. Crushed.

Red next. The best. I walked

two blocks, my ungloved hands

grainy from sugar residue.

I saw the girl’s house, the one whose

porch light flickered orange. I smiled,

then packed a slushy iceball. Tight.

After my attack on her house, I jogged

past the used car lot, the barking dog.

Then, alone, I chomped on orange children.

December was gray. My mouth was coal.

I didn't want nor need to share my candy.

I didn’t want nor need to share my candy .  .  .

with a girl. At twelve, I read Soto’s poem,

the first poem I loved—its title lonely, blue,

stuck without a word with which to rhyme.

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