Tether

at my junior high
on the playground
which barely qualified as a playground
more like a prison yard without the sentries
we had tetherball poles
only no tetherballs.

just the poles and the strings.

during one of my periods of homelessness
years later

i would try to sleep in this playground
but usually wound up sittinng there
in the dark
looking at the shadows
the poles
now without strings
cast in the moonlit dirt.

one night
after trying in vain to sleep
i decided the poles without purpose have had enough purposelessness
we’ve all had enough

these kids needed poles with strings
with balls on the end
that they could punch and send hurdling through space towards whomever was on the other side.
we needed meaning
these poles and i
purpose fufilled
Destiny!

I grabbed my sketchbook
scribbled a note
tore out the page
slapped the note to one of the poles with some gum

BRING US THE BALLS ON STRINGS OR WE WILL PUT YOUR HEADS ON THESE POLES. ~ thank you, the children.”

I never went back.
I found much nicer places to sleep.