Patapsco portrait

April 23, 1996|By W. H. Stevens

Down southeast Baltimore

We went through the motions

of public education.

Hungry stereotypic kids

batting landslide minds-

already-made-up opinion.

''You hoodlums!'' screeched

Mrs. Mu-Zak. Claimed

her minister husband

could save us from a

life of Dundalk Damnation.

''To hell with you!''

sneered the fat chemistry

teacher. ''I get paid

anyway,'' he slobbered,

guzzling Pepsi in the

September cinder block heat.

Shared torn lab books,

notes scribbled with yellow nubs.

Perched on three-legged chairs,

we snickered knowingly

at dusty, empty blackboards.

Outside, the disposal plant

relentlessly chugged, coughing

graceful acrid vapors

into the stifling air.

With our red-neck labels

we prayed to Jude, played

varsity with deflated equipment

donning mismatched

left-leg shin guards.

Anemic gum-chewing

cheerleaders

watched as we kicked and

pounded our opponents,

Pink detention slips

Clenched in our fists.

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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