Remembering the Way I used to Shake it While that Juke Box Played that Song


There’s this girl I watch

a couple times a week:

Stringy hair, thin frame,

carefree style, opinionated

in her silence and mousiness,

(mousiness in the sense of being subtle

and not in her looks), which I like.

She brings her lunch in little plastic baggies,

nibbling on her homemade

peanut butter and jelly

sandwich with the crust still on.

As if she’s trying to hide

something from everyone around her,

she checks out.

Munching on her sandwich

with intent, her thoughts seem

to overrule the feast of the

fruit in her mouth.

She finishes her lunch off with

a bruised banana, chewing slowly, not

losing her resolve to fulfill

her hunger. She wraps the peel

up quietly, tucking it in on

top of her purse, waiting to

dispose of it, not wanting to

draw attention to her awkward

walk across the room.

Her lack of shower, (maybe she

had a bird bath instead) which

I know is to save the water, is

a reminder of my own choices to

do the same: Save the planet. I

envision her standing in front of

her vanity mirror, scrubbing her

arm pits with a faded yellow

wash cloth, which was probably

her grandma’s while humming songs

to some anti-government band from

years before, making sure to avoid

changing her underwear.

All of this reminds me of a time in my own life where:

We drank a lot,
fucked a lot,

fought a lot.

We were opinionated,



Life seemed to pass us by,

exist only in it debauchery,

remind us of our nemesis.

We crawled into bottles

to hide our resentments,

our responsibilities,

our lackluster views of society.

We chastised our leaders who lied to us,

our drug dealers who stole from us,

the bums on the street who got their

booze for free.

We sang songs screaming for justice,

wrote poems begging for silence,

and passed out every night in our own puke.

I think of those times and don’t

miss them one bit.

But, I just wouldn’t trade them

for anything. Sometimes,

pain is the great motivator and

stinky armpits are the reminder

that I need to shake it up once

in a while, despite my age.

So, I thank you little girl, (not in

a bad way, but in the way that

I was truly a little girl pretending

to be all grown up, too). You reminded

me of “my roots, my rock, my reggae.”


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