OK, this is boys’ stuff, for sure. All the annoying pranks we played. We must have driven our parents and the neighborhood a bit crazy. But there was an innocence to it all, and I remember those childhood days fondly.


Rapscallion Summer


We piked dog crap on sticks

chased each other, whooping,

never minded where we wallowed,

our britches rank and grimy.


We pooped in window wells

wiped with Elephant Ears

loped away, chortling

collapsed under concealing willows.


We ran from slow Santos guarding school construction

spat down from the choir loft on Carmelite novena-goers

pushed Kevin Kell in through the milk box

grabbed up Bowman baseball cards and ran like hell.


Down at Klaiber’s delicatessen purloining Grapesicles,

yelling through St. Mary’s sanctuary

stranding proud American flags

knotting the ropes that hauled them down.


Seeking bold opportunity

on the night streets where we plied our mischief trade,

we pulled strings taut over summer evening sidewalks

flipped glowing pipes out of startled mouths.


We were the rollicking boys, thefting dad’s spyglass

watching Arlene Maitland strip down to her brassiere

at her bedroom window, then she pulled down the shades

and we didn’t know what masturbation was.


We moaned in the evening bushes, panicking Barbara Wood

told Sally Morgan only Catholics go to heaven

jammed a box of honeybees in Muck Fassett’s mailbox

leaped out grinning onto wailing diesel rail


Hissing out bicycle air in night garages

Scotch-taping thumbtacks to sisters’ chairs

billowing up sun-fires with magnifying glasses

dirt-warring, one side of Blantyre Road against the other.


We were rough boys till the stars popped out

taming us with the awesome Dipper

but we plotted in our night beds, whispering with the radio

clutched to our ears till we passed into innocent sleep.