21

1. at 21 I toyed with two things,
staying young and turning twenty two,
chanting thirty minutes of the sutra,
forgetting my name, my chains,
my rosemary beads and the balm
oval shaped pressed from a palm
into my mouth
the Eucharist, ridiculous
since the black church left the white rock
of st. peter’s upside down cross
for smut
at 21 i toyed with no girls and two boys
it was all nightclubs and mohawks
21 percent proof and licensed
every time the night came
at 21 i skipped one and went straight to two
organic chemistry and lube
looking for the quickest way to come up
for a pharmacy to mix tablets to stop
anxious mommies and daddies
at 21. i toyed with two women; at 21 i toyed with the buddha

EPILOGUE
at 29, 21 year olds are practicing again… they’ll get here soon
and i’ll get back to good. to 21… before i caught that small case at 23, before i failed at 25, before i roamed god’s tar paved earth at 26, before i was a public transit commuter at 28, before i slowed down at 28, before i went to bed at 30, before i woke up to start it all again, write poems about it, before i became my father at 60; giving advice we all need but don’t heed…21

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