I used to hang out with my brother
in our stone slab basement after hours,
which for us was five o’clock in the summertime
because those dog days were spent playing outside
and braving the sun gods and their UV rays
with sunscreen armor.
Armed with tree-branch swords,
Woody and I would destroy the hours
until early evening arrived.
The bark carved scarlet teeth into our skins
as we pounded rhythms against tree spirits
(which thinking about now seems the most
unkosher thing imaginable),
but after vanquishing our
made-up beasts of the dry season,
we walked home red-handed champions.
Our subterranean hangout was hardly
a punishment for misbehavior.
More of a bat cave to pay homage
to our superhero brethren
or an ancient burial site for recycled
Mighty Morphin Power Ranger paraphernalia,
we prayed to a TV shrine in the concrete lair.
Spending all day outside, we worked up
an appetite for cartoons.
To make the most of our summertime,
we would grind our eyes smooth on the static snow
of up-close-and-personal pixels.
One time we were struck blind for three days
after a night of overindulgence.
That was our Dragonball hangover.
On another occasion,
our brains turned to cottage cheese,
and we tried to eat the craniums of
neighborhood kids with plasma screens:
To this day, we blame the teenage-
mutant ninja turtles.
But the crowning achievement of my piety
was carrying a beat-up curb-side CRT
in the Hades-heat of July
from a sidewalk 3 miles away
to our basement so we could play video-games.
I didn’t even know if it worked,
but it was worth it
for a hit of Nintendo.