had logo

September 22, 2021


Matt Mitchell

the mermaids in American water came just / after the A-bomb test in Nevada / Dad blamed Harding losing on the pharmaceutical dust / tornadoing around Mollenkopf Stadium / Mamaw sold my Lincoln Logs in the garage sale / said kids haven’t played with Lincoln Logs since ‘Nam / I saw David down the road waiting for our bus / and he waved at me with the laser pointer he stole off his dad / we played hangman with our breaths / looking like handwriting stuck in January air / that spring when The Melt came all the lunch ladies / started microwaving the soybean burgers instead / I stuffed a million suns into the pockets of my cargo pants / and stole 35-cent apple juice cartons / I ate a Cry Baby Sour Ice cup all alone in my mother’s classroom / like I was fucking Steven Glansberg / you were in an art class somewhere halfway across the state / drawing pictures of all your beaches / the dealership said they put a moonroof in my Pontiac / so I could measure how far away God was / by ashing stars in the cupholder / and counting the mile-widths of toad-stranglers / yes we’ve seen thunder before / we just don’t have a name for seeing it yet / can you believe we were all once ugly babies / hearing the This Charming Man riff for the first time / and thought, goodness I hope the lead singer doesn’t ruin this for all of us / or that we played hooky just to see what happened / to Rafe and his evil twin on Days of Our Lives / or that the Bush administration / took the last traffic light off the highway / of course I miss / the suppers of buttered noodles and Coca-Cola / in front of a TV glowing Man V. Food reruns / turning the police scanner off just to hear How Deep Is Your Love / crawl out of Dad’s living room stereo / and Dad saying Disco Demolition Night makes sense / in retrospect / or that one December when hometown garage band Acid / had their record go double-aluminum with no features / and there was snow falling in NYC on Christmas Eve / that looked like my mother in a hall of mirrors / back then our houses came from tin cylinders / with assembly required until the banks priced us out / and we couldn’t afford an Uber / that would take us to the moon anymore / and the boys with Bill of Rights forearm tats / threw toilet cleaner bombs into yards / and took baseball bats to mailboxes up the road / then there were the masculine street-fight lobotomies on SnapChat stories / I swear Chicken Fried blasting out of rusted Chevy S10 trucks / will be the death of me / all of this and the stink from falling steel plants / still disobeyed the wind and burnt down half the general store / all of this and the Ursuline cornerback still put a concussion / in Mario’s head before Mario went and got drafted by the Giants / how romantic, the ways we’ve nuked each other to smithereens / just to come back pretty / the way the bar uptown closed every winter / and reopened under a new name / some say it was the hype / of the PlayStation 3 release that saved this city / for me, it was leaving and finding you