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Vignettes in Yellow Brick

We were kids

In the old apartment,

Just sprouting into adolescence

Not in poverty

But we knew

Who the Bailiff was

And somehow

We were always saved

And could always stay

The bricks were yellow

The hallways dim with dirt

Broken windows

Smelly carpets

Pothole pavement

Freeze in winter

Boil in summer

Lazy landlord

Nothing fixed on time

But pay the rent we must

On time

It was home I think

For nigh on ten years

My brother and I

We two, inseparable

Bunk beds, one room

That was us

He had the top one

He was lightest

But not light enough

He came crashing down

On me, one night

Bolts not tight. What a fright

That got fixed, then one night

We had spaghetti for dinner

He got sick

Over the side, down the ladder

We fell in with little hooligans

Maybe we were hooligans at heart

Made stun guns

From sawed off hockey sticks

With clothespin triggers

Holding tight bands of rubber

With bobby pin bullets

The Police did not like this much

And we heard about something called

Juvenile Hall

Guns confiscated

Wrists slapped

Started a gang

With pretend wooden swords

And Mom’s old sheets for flags.

You’ll put someone’s eye out with that

The side door at Yellow Brick

Had a tall narrow window

So you could see outside

Coming down the stairs

It got smashed

And was left open

For a day or two or three

Our friend Stanley

Got used to running down the steps

And right through the open gap

Until one day the glass man came

And we didn’t know

We heard a loud crash

And screaming

Stanley nearly died

He was so cut up

The neighbors brought towels

They were soaked in his blood

There was a fire in the night

Outside in our underwear

In October, all clear

My little brother had a special friend

Named Stewie

But they moved away

His Mom Sophie would drive him

For visits, sometimes overnight

One time, she came to get him

They went to go home

And were never heard from again

Died on the road

Bad crash

Our little girlie friends

Started growing a little

I liked Rosie, and brought her cookies

Puppy love

There was Arlene too

She took needles every day

And the backs of her legs were red

We loved Elvis

And at thirteen came The Beatles

Change in the world

I went to work as a bagel baker

At thirteen. At thirteen.

Life had new things in store

It was our time

To leave the street we called

The Yellow Brick Road.

Lee Dunn View All

Lee Dunn has been writing since the age of 18, but found that work got in the way for the ensuing 48 years. In his home town of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, he reveled in his independence at an early age, and spent as much time as he could exploring the city’s Arts scene. He was introduced to poetry and prose by the works of two literary giants, namely J.R.R. Tolkien and J.W. Lennon and thence fell in love with the written word. His work includes poetry, short fiction, and personal essays, and ranges in theme from the surreal to the horrific, nostalgic, and themes on the human condition. He has been published on, The Dark Poets Club, Journal of Undiscovered Poets, Crepe & Penn Literary magazine, and the Shelburne Free Press.

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