Block Party

Five dollars’ admission.
All the neighbors (who can pay) are there.
Canvas folding chairs (bring your own)
line the curbside along green parkways.
Dogs crap in those parkways.

The new kids on the block
are in attendance.  They are middle-aged
and are me and my wife.
We are shy but determined,
frightened of people but resolved
to make our new beginnings here.

We set our canvas chairs
on the parkway behind some of our neighbors.
Introductions are made.  We are all middle-aged
(the younger ones and their children
are down the street, closer to
the inflatable fun castle and the quoits).

There is a line of buffet tables and a
griller grilling meats (burgers, dogs) on a charcoal grill.
Canned and bottled beverages (non-alcoholic)
in an ice-and-water-filled tub.
A P.A. system, a host, a raffle (my wife
wins a bottle of wine), pre-recorded music
(late 60s to early 70s, the pinnacle
of post-war American culchuh).
The music is too loud.  Conversation
is difficult.  Later there’s a singer
backed by two electrified guitarists.
Early on, I stepped in dog shit.
Three times went down the street
to try and scrape it off my shoe.
Even a little bit of that stuff stinks,
and there was no hiding that this
new kid needed to learn
at least one new thing.

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