High School Parking Lot

It amazes me how similar my son's high school parking lot is to mine thirty years ago. Better hair now :)


High School Parking Lot

There are so many hormones in the air,
I feel I could get pregnant
as I idle in my conservative coupe
waiting for my son.
Next to me in a white lowered sedan,
bass pumping, rap blaring,
I hear the word suck and
one that rhymes with rock,
a term so naughty I can barely say it
with the bedroom door closed.
The passenger is pumping his fists,
thrusting his hips,
he knows all the lines,
he’s got all the moves.

It is a rumble every afternoon,
there are screeches and burning rubber often,
hoods up and tailgate parties,
there are clusters of pick-ups
in the back row, chew wads large enough
to dam the dikes of Holland.
School buses heave out of the lot
while others arrive delivering teams of
padded and girdled gladiators.
Even the kids who don’t fit in
do it with flare, a boy with a bowtie,
a goth girl with torn tights and violet hair.
Yes, there is pain here, ennui and ecstasy,
but even ambivalence is displayed with passion.
Every day is the final contest in a talent show.

How did we adults become so homogenized,
all of us waiting in line at Costco
in baseball caps and yoga pants?
I can’t remember the last time
I wore face paint or a tutu.
It has been decades since I played tug of war
or shook a pom pom or broke up a girl fight.
Why don’t we carry instruments
like the band kids or tote gym bags,
wield tennis rackets and have ankles with tan lines?
When did we stop kicking balls
under stadium lights?

Even as they pose and wear the latest brands,
teenagers are bullshit detectors,
divining rods for authenticity.
They see right through us,
know where we have sacrificed
our souls for safety,
traded mystery for mediocrity.
As I wait surrounded by cars
crammed with cussing and crazed passengers,
I pray they don’t make eye contact
lest I melt into puddles of shame
or explode into confetti-like longing.

To be fair there are a few adults
with a surge in their step.
I play tennis next to a quartet of doubles,
they have knee braces and thick middles
and laugh more than they volley,
when I arrive for my music lesson,
a woman with silver hair and a guitar
across her back nods with encouragement.
With them in mind, I say a silent prayer
as I wait in line behind cars with no mufflers,
tend your fires wild ones,
so you don’t burn it all now.