My youth is gone from me.


I might strike

some lucky stone (who knows),

random kicks along

the mile-long road by my

old school. I learned there

to choose to choose

over you, and you… anything but this

piss-pot of a room, uniform

desk and chair; two-hundred boys

in the same… clothes:

in two months I learn to forget,

suppress my acute



Some boys I called

friends. We’d meet before 9

on the stairwell; toss a coin,

and, heads or tails,

jumped the bus for the West End

girls of Kensington

and Notting Hill.


In Italy, me and Coronetta

were delinquenti,

and the Chiesa Cattolica

would have condemned us

for making music, fiddling

the acoustics of a vaulted ceiling:


if it were known. There were no

animate witnesses, tho’: the saints

looked on, livid like stone; said



Have I not been punished

sufficiently? I live well, I suppose:

drink wine, eat leavened bread

from the best bakeries.

But Coronetta failed

one day to hold his

heroin. That boy was 15

when I laid hands on him,

and he was full of smiles. Well,


My youth is gone from me.


Leave a Reply