Ode To My High School Gym

 

Home to . . .

blue onesied teenage girls
delicately batting badmintons,
and pimpled boys man-upping
in raucous dodge-ball games.

Crew cuts and ratted Aqua Net dos.

School assemblies.
Seats assigned by homeroom,
alphabetical misery.

Six-foot hoopsters.
Full-skirted
ball gown under-frames
and the tall gangly ball-shooting kind.

Hand-wringing game-ending cacophony,
and teenage clutching
Johnny-Mathis-crooning
sock-hop last chance
he-has-to-be-the-one dance.

Crepe paper.
Gathered in strips,
duct tape hand grips
bouncing in pompom cheers.
Stretched————————–
transformed to ceiling
with hanging mirrored ball
above parading bouffant heads.

Embarrassed girls
side-lined on folding chairs
watching nervous girls
lined up in pretended calm,
waiting to learn
if they would be the one
adorned in prom queen crown.

Fifty years later,
we stand on your creaking boards.
Is it possible? Is this the space?
Old age does not become you,
our once hallowed place.

IMG_6666

Frank hosts dVerse today, the virtual pub for poets, asking us to write an ode (poem of praise). No required form, meter or content. Photo: from my 1965 senior year high school annual, Waukegan Township High School in Waukegan, Illinois. Prom court….I was on a folding chair 🙂 And yes, there’s a metal hoop skirt under that second gown. You had to be really careful when you sat down! In the actual photo, you can see the basketball court lines on the gym floor. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time.