Car Crash Youth

The kids in my town lived their youths out like car crashes –
driving recklessly – and that may be a stereotype, but it fits. We were teenagers

and I was innocent, too innocent
to be told or to understand what was happening then.
As I grew older and wiser and whatever
other shit there is that people say about aging,
I found out what all had been happening in high school.
Booze, pot, pills, harder drugs – do you know
that at sixteen I was friends with three coke dealers?
Each of them hid it from me. The weight
of it all nearly smothered me.

I wish I could say that everyone worked
the partying out of their systems, but you know
as well as I do that that’s not how it works.
Some people managed it, toned the craziness down
and started to play it a little safer
with their cars and their livers and everything else
that makes having a good time just a little bit
dangerous. But some people grow up and some don’t.
Some die at nineteen, at 2:13 in the morning on Old Shelby Road
when they don’t make a turn and instead wrap their trucks
around trees, and a half-empty bottle of Jack turns over
on the floorboard as the sirens start to
scream.

Rough draft, what say you?

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