They Make Different Kinds of Lotion for Almost Everything

a poem in six parts by: Adam1

I.

You get to an age where you’re graded
too harshly for staying too the same
while the world changes colors

and staying out late

while your old body ages

like you knew that it would
but you wouldn’t believe it.

You know,
They don’t tell you that in college. No matter how long it takes you to graduate.

 II.

“My eccentricities” he once said sarcastically,
“You wouldn’t believe me,
but when I was the old me,
they used to be pretty delightful.

I used to have nights full

of drugs and of alcohol

and not be this spiteful

eyesore on a bar stool.

Me and my friends used to play and pretend
to be pirates at night with our mouths full.

But now there’s too many ‘we’re not gonna take this’ nights and weekends

caught in the alleys and waste bins

of ‘we’re not gonna take this’ new friends,

 

wearing ‘we’re not gonna take this’ headbands.”

 

Wearing “we’re not gonna take this” expressions

and drinking and grinning discontent

about his parent’s basement

and drinking

and drinking

all weekend.
Until the “I’m not gonna pay for this” kicks in.

Until the cuteness is transmuted to disruptive and belligerent

and “you can’t come back ‘til you dry out”
and “Come on, man, get it together or get out.”
And “All of your friends are getting older

and you’re still throwing
up in the sink

like once a week.”

 

“All of my friends are getting boring.
They’re getting into grad school and engaged to their girlfriends.
And I still wear a shit stained cape into a bar in a small town
‘Cuz I can get away with this,

just like all my other

'we’re not gonna remember this's.

This is getting old.

 III.

When I was younger
I used to work in this mom and pop pizza shop.
Eight or nine or ten hour shifts,
rounding up tips and smoking in the no smoking trucks.
But really,

who gives a fuck, really?

 

The shop had a jukebox, and four
or five or four and a half hours in,
I would slip in the quarters that I would pilfer
from the company’s change pouch
that I kept clipped to a belt
that I borrowed from my father

for eight or nine or ten hours at a time
and eventually I just stole it.

And half way through the shifts I would
slip them in, and punch in B-26,
Twisted Sister’s “we’re not gonna take this”
and shake my head and my hair around
For four or five

or four and half minutes.

And I wouldn’t take any deliveries.

And then the song would end.
And I would take it for the rest of the shift.

 

 IV.

 

You get to an age where your injuries
don’t really go away. They heal
but they still stay in place
and your body and face are the same,
for the most part,

just worse for the rest of your life.

One night me and my buddy, Banjo,
were sitting on the roof at the end of a windstorm
and playing our favorite game

which we affectionately called,

“who’s the biggest alcoholic?”

And there was this branch that had snapped but not fallen
all the way down to the concrete driveway
between our roof and the roof of our neighbor’s apartment

and I thought that I could swing on it.

And Banjo said, “No, don’t do it.”
And I said, “Fuck you, Banjo.” And did it

and I fell and I fucked up my ankle pretty badly
but at least I won the game.

My ankle hurt pretty bad for the next four or five
or four and half weeks
but it did heal and these days it’s fine.
It’s just worse for the rest of my life.

Back then, I didn’t go to the doctor.
But I could still limp to the bar.

 V.

“My eccentricities,” he whispered ironically,
“They were cuter when I was younger and
I was cuter too, when I was younger.

And more fun too. And more fun to be around.

Though, if you asked around these days
there aren’t that many people around
these days who still remember when I was fun
and cute and young and didn’t wanna take it.

Not many around to remember those kisses and fistfights
and racial slurs and all night ‘what the fuck’s it even for’’s
and that night I crawled into Rachel’s car and I slurred
that I wasn’t gonna take it and I didn’t wanna do it
but I did want to sleep on her floor. 

But I was so drunken that my annunciation
was so bad and blurred that she thought
that I did wanna do it and she didn’t wanna take it any more,

so she got out and opened the door.

 And she got scared that I wouldn’t get out even though
 it was clear she was kicking me out of the car
and a little bit out of her heart
cuz she probably, secretly knew that I really was like this,
she’d just never seen it before. 

And she didn’t wanna take it anymore.

 And in the morning,
her boyfriend was gonna be angry.

Mostly at me, but a little at her

 And he’ll call me and tell me
that their not gonna take this sort of thing from me any more.

They’re grown ups and they’ve got work
and class and practice and shit in the morning.
That my friendship’s becoming a burden.

To consider this
my first and final warning
for christ’s sake,
at five in the morning?

We’re not really mad. We’re just disappointed.
Just say that you’re sorry and take it more slowly
and just be a little more boring.

Don’t make this a grudge that’s worth holding.

VI.

I told my buddy Banjo
that I was gonna get drunk and wear a cape
and he said
“those are two of my least favorite things
that you do.”

You know,
there’s actually a lot they don’t tell you in college. No matter how long it takes you to graduate.

But I bet,
if it takes you long enough,
you probably figure it out anyway.

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