Hampton Bays

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017 – 11:55 pm


Fifth Grave”


In one life, my fifth grade

was three hells

in two cities

in three houses.


In one battle, brothers and fate raged

twenty minutes manic

of frantic changes

to flawed futures

and flayed faces.


In one hell, three monsters

in two boys to men

broke three windows

in two forever goddamned rooms.


After two brothers grim

and blood mopping truce,

I dove lustily to the challenge

and hastily scrawled

a curse on

our blessed home.

My fifth grade was splattered from North Dakota to New York, first Easthampton and ever onward to Mastic Shirley and then William Floyd Parkway.

And whilst in the same grave grade, then on to three torrid tales from one town.

Hampton fucking Bays.

Wait, did I lose you already?

Hampton Bays is the first school in which they gave me my own psychologist.

Like Pilate, I once fitfully scrubbed my charcoaled hands that scarred black gore on our own back door:


My brother and I had broken three separate windows in our fight and I had to think fast.

I convinced dad my prose and profanity were similar to the swastika sprayed on our Jewish friend’s door a year before, before we’d gone completely off the reservation up in Dakota (North).

Plausible phantoms played perfectly to my parent’s paranoia.

We brothers threw fists so daily, our bruised faces somehow went unnoticed after that fight.

Swollen connection to shattered panes and frames remained unsuspected through the night.

But scant days.

Father finally figured it when he found our broken window shards laying out in the yard and wondered why they didn’t land inside the house.

Neighbors confirmed they’d seen us brothers punching and choking each other outside on that white winter day.


Dad reminded us that dark red night of a much purer rage.

Hours previous, I stood inside the dining room of my classmate Tommy’s house and marveled at the prolonged lack of screaming between parent and child.

Holy fucking shit, is this what a normal family looks like?

I told Tommy’s mom of my righteous fight earlier in the week against two larger guys at school and a brick wall.

A horrified and nauseated look from Tommy’s mother at my gory details bode ill for any future family time with my brand newest ex-best friend.

My lungs burned like hell and I knew if I kept running, I was going to pass out.

I looked up and there was his house again, darkly different at this ungodly hour.

Sun long gone, my naked arms crossed, frozen bloody face and shoeless in the snow at midnight.

Fleeing another beating, I sprinted here in moonlight, hoping for a haven to hide.

In my second dissociative event for Hampton Bays, I ran to Tommy’s house after another fight with dad.

I ran a mile in white snow, blacked out, barefoot, bleeding.

I was twelve.

Forever changed and dark inside, I looked in their unbroken front window and saw the family with the white picket fence would always stay dead asleep.

I spit at their fucking illusion and turned back to the devil I knew with bare and numb feet for my next beating.

The longer I waited, the worse it would be.

I had done everything possible to fuel flight, but crash landed again in a fight.

Moments after the sucker punch from one of my two larger attackers, I had blacked out and lost some time.

It was only a few seconds, but they told me that a lot happened.

I came to with one of the guys pulling me off his bloody, unconscious friend.

In a feral mania at my uneven odds, I went somewhere else and someone else gouged his eyes and something else altogether smashed his skull against the bricks of the school wall until he stopped moving.

My older brother and I were for a few years evenly matched in boxing, whether gloved or bare knuckled.

High from the victory against my two attackers the day before, I ventured back into the dusty, bloody ring of Cain and Abel.

The five pound candle I threw at his head had long telegraphed the punch and smashed through the first of three windows to break in twenty minutes.

The third window shattered when Paul’s fist went through it.

“Okay, now you’re just being fucking stupid,” I yelled at him.

I screamed truce and urgency at our deadline, while he wrapped his sliced up hand.

I lifted the lid on the grill on the back porch and removed one charcoal briquet.

I warned my brother, “Clean up your fucking blood. I have an idea.”


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