Two Poems by Mather Schneider

FILL IN THE BLANK

In third grade, us kids were given a piece of paper
to teach us about similes, and thus
to understand life better.

On the paper were written things like:

“________ is as green as grass.”

And

“It was as hot as ________.”

We were to fill in the blanks.
At the end of the page we were to invent our
own similes completely from scratch.

For my own simile, I wrote:
“Tony Posino smells as bad as a garbage can.”

Tony Posino was a big kid in our class
who liked to beat up other kids and threaten us
and steal our stuff
and it was true he smelled
like a garbage can.

I turned in my paper and later got a note from the teacher
and he took me out
of class and had a talk with me.
He told me that was a terrible thing to say about another human being
that I should have respect for people
that others didn’t have it as good
as I did
I could not go through life with that mentality
and my parents should have taught me better.

That teacher, he really knew how
to lay it on a kid.
I felt so bad I cried.
I thought I was an evil person who would
never have any friends in my whole life
and never know the meaning
of happiness and probably end
up completely alone and then go to hell.

That teacher sat there feeling
good about himself
for correcting a wayward 8-year-old soul
while I wiped my eyes
and walked home hoping no one would see me
thinking,
stupid similes,
what good are they?

I’ve been ducking people
like him
and Tony Posino
ever since.

____________

 

MELL’S STORY

Charlie was at the Iguana drinking.
Charlie’s a Yaqui like me
but he’s blind.
He had his cane hanging on his knee
and his girlfriend Katey was there,
she’s an albino,
she’s white like you.
Well this drunk guy notices Charlie’s blind
and decides to make a move on Katey.
She’s an albino but still not bad looking.
She whispers to Charlie,
“This guy’s getting close,”
and Charlie whispers back, “How close?”
And she says, “Real close, he’s right there.”
“Right there?” Charlie says.
“Yeah, right THERE.”
Charlie stands up real slow
and stares straight ahead with those milky eyes
and he reaches around Katey
and grabs the guy by the neck with one hand
and hauls him out the door.
It was about three in the afternoon
and we all followed him to watch.
Charlie had the guy pinned on the sidewalk
and he says, “You had enough? You had enough?”
And the guy grunts something, you know
and Charlie lets loose
and we all go back inside and leave the guy there.
He wasn’t really hurt bad.
Now, I’ll admit
a one-armed guy beat me at pool one time
at Skinny’s Pub
and I like Charlie and no disrespect
but if I got my ass kicked by a blind guy
I would be so embarrassed
I don’t think I’d EVER go back in that bar again.
But, this dumb-ass just came back in ten minutes later
like nothing happened.
But he didn’t do nothing that time.
He just sat at a table
by the wall
and rubbed his eyes.

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