Epicenter
by Dan Senn

High School teams
‘round here
consisted of skinny,
white kids,
who ruled the imagination
all of young boy’s dreams.

Living at the epicenter
of the universe,
population 13,594,
neighboring towns
and villages
were primitive,
weak, and vulgar.

Fame, in those days,
was microscopically
close up and
atomically charged
by pounding pep bands
leaping cheerleaders
driving its heroes
into battle
against strangers
unworthy of living.

To lose in battle unthinkable.

The crowds
were so large,
the halls so packed
you couldn’t tell
who was rich or poor,
smart or stupid,
Catholic or Lutheran,
bowling alley or
Country Club member,
as they cheered
and groaned
and screamed
beating their
bleachered feet
with the synchronized exactness
of Albert Speer’s “Lichtdom”.

Well, kinda.

What mattered
in this starlit,
great American white world
of busy main streets
and jam packed
movie theaters,
were these skinny
young gods,
the first children
of soldiers back
from Guadacanal
and
the Battle of the Bulge.

In this shop,
here, now,
with photos still
on the walls
from 60 years ago,
arose the tallest lad
in two counties
who labored humbly
on weekends
and holidays,
a paper sailor hat
on his head,
his father dairy.

The tallest in two counties,
the lad could dunk
the basketball,
on a good run,
with one hand,
during the warmup,
to hysterical applause
and foot pounding.

Our family
rarely came here
cuz
it was Catholic joint,
a little expensive,
not far from
the scary church,
up on the hill.

But ohhhhh,
the ice cream
was sooo good.
Homemade,
making you forget
the makers
were all going to hell
for drinking real wine
at communion.
(short pause)


The coolest thing
about this place
was that things
were served
on perfectly white
paper plates
and in perfectly white
paper cones
enclosed by blood red
plastic holders
which they invented!

I think.

The water was so cold
and pure
that it curved away
from the dry paper edges
like a cathedral dome.
And the ice cream
was so creamy
it was certainly
blessed by nuns
who floated about
wearing
those funny paper hats.

On Sundays,
these smart Alecky heathens
used pedestal glasses
just to mess
with your head.

’s what my brother said.

DS 122118
ęDan Senn 2019