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Long Beach, CA

The Goths at Disneyland


When the sun becomes too much, the best part of this place is sitting in the shade
and watching the goths mingle among the geeks
and the Greek gods, Kardashian-like, that float among us all

They don’t mingle exactly—they’re still discrete groups which keep a good few feet apart, like high school, except we’re all here because we want to be
Which says something deep:
We are bound and bridged by common hopes and fears and dreams 
And the common screams of joy which assure us we’re feeling something, at least
As we fall in controlled arcs, arms, legs, and feet inside at all times

Where else can you wear all black to ink the world out, and yet still reveal there’s some bright hope within you? 
And, thank God, black Mickey ears to match your eyeshadow?
You’re just a kid, with all of us, despite the dark bangs
And kids need playgrounds—there’s no shame 

I remember when Ben, our quarterback, started crying and didn’t care
That was our eleventh grade year, and everyone stopped and stared
That’s just like being here:
The masks are still there, but lowered;
We’re all admitting we need a break and tired,
And still, full of bright longing for a tomorrow land 
Which binds, though sure, not quite hand-to-hand 

I confess gladly, in my flannel,
With you, the goths, and the soccer moms with strollers,
Bound by that drive to have no pretense:
We all grasp for that golden land 
Like old men able again to kick-the-can
A world with peace on earth, 
And no masks needed to hide the inner man 
While we say, “that was a really long line” and sigh and smile 

If it’s a make-believe mouse that makes it happen, whose hands all our children wish to hold, why not?
Somehow, in this good place, there’s grace, and the world is not so hard to understand 
As wolves lie down with lambs

For more poetry, click here.