Our friendship began in high school
when I walked into the bathroom
and he greeted me with his dick
sticking out of his fly that looked
like a ripe banana while he asked
if I wanted to have some fun.
Mickey would not approve I said
as I whipped out a poem I wrote:
Sweet Sixteen (circa1948)
A barest hint of spring in the air,
riding home in a lurching school bus with
Mickey Barbero, a classmate in art.
Once caught my name writ large in
calligraphy in a sketchpad she carried around.
She had long flowing hair,
eyes as black as bituminous coal
and the fragrance of freesia from La Jolla.
With the sun shining in from the back of the bus
her zirconium earrings were blinding my eyes.
She claimed it wouldn’t hurt a bit
if I let her make a mold of my face.
Lying flat on my back with straws up my nose
she straddled my body like a black widow spider.
Helplessly swaddled like a newborn babe,
I devoured her scent like a celibate monk
as I claustrophobically waited for the plaster to dry,
patiently hoping the cast was perfect
in order to earn the promised reward:
A tango lesson before her parents came home.
During the Korean war my friend and I were drafted
and ended up in the same unit when the Chinese
crossed the Yalu River and we were ordered to retreat.
I was wounded with shrapnel and was treated by my
old high school friend who had become a medic.
He called for a helicopter air lift to get me to the
8167 Th Army Hospital in Tokyo where my arm was saved.