adolescence

"1441"

by Jeph Johnson 

 

I never had a religious upbringing, so when Shari brought a pomegranate to school and cut it open, sharing with me the tender insides, all the majesty of Song of Solomon erupting in my loins from the sugary, yet mildly acidic taste, was lost.


It was an adult fruit, and it seemed somewhat rebellious to be peering inside at the sweetly-seeded morsels while Shari smiled deviously.

 

Looking back, with 41-year-old eyes (which are just now beginning to need reading glasses) I realize she was expecting me to kiss her.


Fewer than seventeen people in my whole life have ever looked at me that way, and I have savagely fucked five of them.

 

Shari looked almost exactly like Natalie Portman, but back in 1980, Brooke Shields was the person my mind compared her to.


Shari had long, dark-brown hair and a cover model's perfect features.

Her uni-brow meant she must have had pubic hair, something I had only a scientific knowledge of from my Mother's Playboys.


That Mom was the one with the pornography stashed underneath the bed remains an oddity of my youth.

 

She told me she liked the stories and I guess I believe her.

Her longing for human intercourse was always more passionate than my Father's desire for sexual intercourse.


At 14-years-old, up until I popped a few pomegranate seeds into my salivating mouth, my libido was just as dormant as Dad's.

 

Before the pomegranate, I had only seen ads and posters for The Blue Lagoon but Shari smiling at me caused the clothes to fall and the wave of her teenage beauty to crescendo over my innocence.


My senses flooded: sweetly acidic seeds sprouted on my tongue, statuesque magazine-model beauty exploded in my eyes while silent come-hither whispers gently caressed my ears!

 

My penis cocked while my testicles took aim and shot adrenalin straight up my spine into my insular cortex.


Of course Shari didn't know any of this was going on; she just wanted me to kiss her.

 

That didn't happen until much later....and it didn't happen with Shari. Instead Laura, a chain-smoking seventh grader who enjoyed the liquor cabinet of my best friend Jamie's Dad pulled me into the bathroom to "tell me a secret."


It was the same secret that she had told Rob five minutes earlier.

 

I just saw him leaving the bathroom with a huge smile on his face.

We all sat around listening to Pat Benatar's "Get Nervous" record.


Rob spent "Shadows of the Night" and "Looking for a Stranger" groping Laura's Middle School tits, while I started off my bathroom adventure to the strains of "Anxiety (Get Nervous)."

 

Her breasts were small and firm, and as soon as my finger touched her nipple "Fight it Out" began playing.


"The Victim" was the last song on side one and played when Laura sat me back down on the couch.

 

By the time Jamie flipped the record over, "Little too Late" was playing for me, and he was now leading Laura into the bathroom to learn the secret too.


He made out to "I'll Do It", which, for him, was apropos.

 

The fact that I had gotten "sloppy seconds" played along in my mind with the song "I Want Out", but Jamie's "sloppy thirds" had no effect on him.


Jamie's drunkenness often led him to all sorts of adventures without him realizing it.

 

Later on in life he met up with the Montana correctional system due to his drunk driving, but he straddled Samantha Senior year upon Mt. Scott on the passenger side of his Chevy pickup.

 

She would only gently kiss my puckered lips once after we waited in line for Night Ranger autographs.


Fifteen-years-old Sam then deep-kissed their drummer and I wondered aloud why she wouldn't kiss me - one of her best friends...

 

"I'll kiss you," she promised, giving me a confused look.


That's when I gave her the nickname "soft lips", even though I had gotten sexier kisses from my Aunt.

 

Still, it seemed to be a good Springtime day, I knew it was one that would shape my entire life.


After all, why would I be typing away this Autumn morning, still have that Benatar album on my hard drive, while sucking down a pomegranate flavored candy?

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

2007

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A Hand

Greedy, tiny hands covered in fresh flesh

Fingers without wrinkles

Stretched out to the sky

Attached to hungry hands

That grasp potential


Gentle, caring hands of a child, covered in dirt

Fingers that have learned to hold

Wrapped securely around a mother’s

Attached to innocent hands  

That grasp new life


Angry, tentative hands, covered in bruises

Fingers that curl into a fist

Searching for justification

Attached to trembling hands

That grasp reality


Responsible, organized hands, covered in calluses

Fingers that memorize positions on a keyboard

Searching for confirmation

Attached to the hip of authority

That cannot grasp satisfaction


Hands, that are no longer owned, filled with formaldehyde

Fingers tucked neatly together

Hidden from the sky

Attached to empty hands

That grasp death

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Page 565 #1-6

slit my wrists 

and lay me out to dry 

lay me out to die

everyday i try and try 

time goes by

if i said i wasn't said 

it would be a lie

i cry and cry 

so go fuck off 

im out to dry

and don't act surprised 

eyes for eyes

you took mine 

so go do your time

you fucking idiots

you're just earth's slime 

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Story of Their Lives

Her lips are cursed with empty lies.

Her eyes are bleached with soulless cries...

And her face resembles a fallen goddess.

 

She falls to her knees vomiting out her youth

In the bathroom of her broken home.

Sure this is the "perfect one"...Abused and alone.

 

Somebody tell this girl: 

"You can't find beauty in a magazine...

And surgery won't capture any dreams..."

There's no one to run to with her sad heart

Somebody tell her....she's falling apart.

 

. . .

 

So it seems Johnny's lost another dad but you

Can't really lose what you never really had.

Once again he is a f*king mess.

Feeling loved less and less.

 

His mother wants what she can't have.

So why does she even bother?

A great husband and a happy teen...

He just wants a father.

 

But the son is left all alone...

Waiting for a better home.

Well he's still waiting...

I'm still waiting...

 

Somebody tell this boy: 

There are millions just like him.

It'll be alright. The pain will subside.

Please don't contemplate suicide...

You will see in time, you will be fine. 

It'll all be alright.

You will find love. 

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Growing UP

Folder: 
Family

Life seemed to be so simple

I have a life built on a castle

Then it all started with just a pimple

When I see it,  I giggled.

 

Something will change along the way

Mama said this happens during puberty

One day I’ll wake up to a beautiful day

To realize that I am but a fine a lady.

 

As I stand in front of the mirror

I moticed some strange changes occur

Straight up and down, I used to be skinny

Now I have hips that look shapely.

 

Why do we change when we aged?

Are we getting lost along the way?

Or is this to find ourselves?

Discover life and all its mysteries.

 

Author's Notes/Comments: 

for 11yo Francin

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Pens Down

Folder: 
The Drabble Ditch

Mister Teacher cultivates our shivers

Creating craved and necessary marks

He's a devil

His world's in peril

And I'm his precious little rock

 

Grass Stains

Prison chains

Bright sunshine

Hazel stares turn water to wine

 

Ink scratches  stain paper and skin

Scrawled and torn until my hands bleed

He's infuriating

He's manipulating

And I'm everything he needs

 

Dirty knees

Apostrophes

A generous heart

But he's cursed with a skull of glass.

 

I launch myself across the lawn

and I don't want to see where I'm going

My mind's infected

My rage's resurrected

He shakes. He sees his ruby child glowing.

 

Whispered names

Secret candy canes

Doodles in my book

To decorate the wisdom he took.