On Writing

Poem 66 – In My Teens Walking Home – University Avenue

In My Teens Walking Home – University Avenue

I used to walk home from downtown
alone
moving with the energy that resides
on the other side of exhaustion
fear not strong enough to hold
onto my choices and make me
think twice about the danger of
a lone teen moving in the 2am-s
of a wide open Sunday morning

I was never afraid
when I felt the downward slope
of the University Avenue bridge
the safe tug of close-to-home
gathered around my torso like a belt
past Slater and the one gray house
where I & C lived past the ornate
curves of the lawyer’s office the tired
gas station and the blaring lights
of the ever-name-changing convenience
store that was always busy

I’d look at the sagging shell of
Grace Hospital and feel the ghosts
of babies born and patients past
flutter at the back of my salt-sweaty
neck but I wasn’t afraid

The smell of bacon lingering over
Skippy’s Diner like a welcome flag
and the red fire of the Shin Shin sign
reminded me how hungry I was

Even on that one night when the
rust-eaten Oldsmobile slowed to
match my pace blackened windows
like doors to Death’s danger den
I was certain I’d reach home unharmed
and I did left in the smoky rubber
squeal of assholes onto other darknesses

I kept walking home past Oak and the
blocky business building to the calm
corner of Elm my street waiting for
the steady gait of my Doc Marten-ed soles
to pound gently the pavement to our duplex

Once inside I’d shudder hard under the
pressing rain of a hot shower delirious
with post-dancing debility and scrub
the invisible layer of cigarette smoke
Canadian beer body odour and the
sadness of yet another night out
not having been kissed
I’d wash it all away let the
night swirl down the drain

Only my ears could hold
what was left of the venture
my heartbeat flapping like wings
against cartilage then banging out
the rhythm of the darkness of dreams
unmet and dreams forthcoming

The fear of never being in love
a dagger more terrifying than any
walk home in a pendulum swing
above me sharpening on the
steal line of dawn’s fertile opening




Have a beautiful Sunday, writers!

2 thoughts on “Poem 66 – In My Teens Walking Home – University Avenue

  1. Hi Vanessa, This is a very powerful poem! Who has not walked alone in the eerie hours of night? I could “ feel your fear”,your guarded steps in the darkness!

    You escaped the creepy car pulled too close. There are those who don’t. We all fear that fate! Bravo !

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

  2. This poem is awesome! And I love the photo of you included in this email… this is a GREAT photo of you!!!

    Love ya! Tracey

    On Sun, Mar 7, 2021 at 10:23 AM VANESSA SHIELDS, writer wrote:

    > Vanessa Shields posted: ” In My Teens Walking Home – University Avenue I > used to walk home from downtownalonemoving with the energy that resideson > the other side of exhaustionfear not strong enough to holdonto my choices > and make methink twice about the danger ofa lone teen mo” >

    Like

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