Voices on the Wind
Voices from Teen Years
by Leslie Clark
We fancied ourselves intellectuals.
Rare blooms that somehow managed
to lift exotic heads from the
hard-scrabble dirt of a factory town.
While our classmates were concerned
with how much beer they could guzzle,
the best parking places in town,
Bobby—long and hard like a highway,
we had endless discussions about
Nietzsche, Sartre, Collette, Marx.
We got it all wrong, often,
but at least explored the options.
We confounded our small town teachers,
We formed our own little clique of oddballs–
two hefty, sardonic brothers,
a rawboned farm boy,
a precocious private school student.
You, with your razor intellect and acne,
me, a collection of bones and brains and glasses.
We gathered on porches to mock and banter
and launch our lofty theories into the stagnant air.
Sexuality was always an invisible other in our throaty voices
though we claimed to have risen above all that.
We girls were eventually distracted by the mundane,
swept into a social whirl,
seduced by bulky football players.
We left the group’s guys behind on porches
to add us to their litany of mockery.
Though we still exchanged worlds discovered
in books of rebellious thought,
our intellectual edge was softened
like the new curves of our bodies.
We lost each other through life’s twists of paths,
through careless errors in judgment.
Now we lead our lives in wide-flung places.
Still, I thank you for piquing that first
craving of the mind, that quest for something else.
Every day, I try to pass it on,
and hope that somewhere, somehow
you still do the same.