— First published by FreeXpresSion, August 2006

Childhood is a tumor that won’t go away.
I thought I had a healthy childhood,
Played ball with my friend and neighbor Seymour.

I had no friend, no neighbor Seymour.
Seymour was me, forced to play by myself.
But I loved the smell of my leather football;

It thrilled me to hold it, throw it, catch it, feel it, tight
In my palm. When the ball landed on the body of a parked car,
The injured vehicle would shake a fist at me, cursing, “mutant!”

I figured if I dented that Jag good enough,
Its owner would be relieved from the anxiety
He faced everyday, trying to keep his car immaculate.

Not even the sound of my mom calling me to dinner
Would stop me from throwing that ball. There, on the street,
I could taste the homemade pizza on the dinner table. To this day

I look in the mirror and see myself — my sister — staring
At me, calling me Pizza Face. Like the hot lava of Hell’s volcano,
I’d melt my sister’s puny brain, I would.

Then there’s my father, who after dinner would get up,
And I would feel his words like heavy luggage,
And hear ice cream melt my tongue, as he’d say,

‘It would behoove you to grow up.’
In manner my father and I were always arguing tete-a-tete.
We will argue into eternity, with the silence of words.

I wanted a younger brother to keep me company in this
Neurotic innocence of mine. Time for some chemotherapy;
Even as my cancerous youth brews in my head, still.