for Matthew Rice and his da; after Adrian Rice and his Matthew
It wasn’t so much that we burnt tires, releasing a toxic stew of nasties,
or that each Eleventh Night, as a spat crescendoed, some fella got battered
or worse, wound up dead, after an adversary went in hard with a nine iron;
or the dearth of historical fervor, despite our fertile preteen minds,
orgulous for no reason but our labors, and addled with WKD
Orange, which—sickly sweet—was then the only flavor;
or the hazard of a gaunt older boy who could barely hold the AKM
or, as it recoiled, keep its spray above the throng after twelve MGD
or Bud. It was that they burnt our hut—our casern for to watch the pile
(or that’s what we told our mas), in which we drank and joked and made out,
or made out we had, into teenhood—a lodge of pallets roofed with bitumen felt
or ancient paisley carpet, decked out with filthy sofas and a kerosene lamp
or a million-candle torch commandeered from some neighbor’s shed.
Every tenth of July, in the morning, the Coalman turned up with a jerrican.