August 18, 2010


This week's prompt over at  Big Tent Poetry was a "Wordle".  I only used a few words from it, but those few had me remembering a wonderful time of teenage years with my best friend.

In a blue Chevy Malibu
hand-me-down car,
along a cracked blacktop
roller-coaster ride,
two girls race towards womanhood,
wild and fast.
Through the dry desert valley,
covered in sand and baby oil,
soaked in the smell of steaming wet dog
rising from the black backseat.

Tethered together
since first day, second grade,
and bonded tightly by
countless sleepovers
and Saturday double-features.
They compare sunburns
while laughing over how drunk they
got last week from screw top wine,
and the day they (not so bravely)
pierced each other's ears.

Stoked on caffeine, sun,
and Jolly Ranchers,
they rush back to stifling houses.
Their only future
a long cold shower before
the date tonight
with those rough-edged boys
they're crazy for,
and the pointless classes
of next semester.

Any other future
is in a smoky distance,
far removed from this perfect,
blistering, summer day.
A day of piss-warm lake water,
flirting with Bullhead boys,
and the dry, hot wind streaming
through the windows.
On every dip, they bottom out,
on every hill they fly…

This is dedicated to my dearest lifelong friend,  Cathy.  Childhood would have been empty without her.


  1. Cynthia this rocks! What a strong tribute to childhood friendship. Bravo!

  2. Screw top wine is pretty select these days! What a marvellous jaunt you and your friend had. It was fun to tag along!

  3. Terrific!! The poem moves along that road so fine. I love the last lines as the ending.

    My favorite part (aside from the privilege of knowing you both since first/second grade!!!) is "A day of piss-warm lake water,/ flirting with Bullhead boys" -- that so captured the summer heat of becoming a woman.

    I wonder if other readers "get" how exotic those Bullhead boys were, and how kinda "off limits" to Kingman girls. (Or am I mis-remembering the "taboo" of dating outside your tribe?)

  4. Cynthia, I liked your memories of you and your friend 'racing toward womanhood.' I think you have captured adolescence beautifully.

  5. Even though I have never been there, this poem screams Young America at me. You have beautifully brought to life that special time of youth.

  6. Wonderfully crafted! Excellent post!

    -Weasel =)

  7. You've put me right in that car. I absolutely love this poem—it's visceral, alive and adept at creating a particular time.

  8. Cynthia what a wonderful tribute to a lifelong friend!

  9. Although I have never heard the term "Bullhead" boys, I immediately got a picture of the more questionable guys in high school, the ones that all of us had strong attractions to. The ones you flirted outrageously with, but wouldn't eagerly take home to introduce to parents. And the whole poem speaks to all those things at that time of life, the sheer excitement of finding what lies beyond the bend in the road. Tripping on being alive,


  10. Cynthia I love your memories of a life long friend! Sounds like you always had a great time! Definitely a unique take on this!

  11. totally enjoyable Cynthia...great read and memories of the great 50s for me..thanks for the memories

  12. Thanks for taking us along for part of the ride. Friendship is a great gift of life, and friends from childhood are a rare gift indeed! I loved the line about being tethered together.

  13. You took me back to my fun filled friendship days!

    dances of the zeroes

  14. Friendship does matter, and ur verse is full of it.. loved it a lot!

    My Big Tent Poem

  15. Wonderful, Cynthia! I love the feel of the poem, the celebration of life! And i love the way you situate the experience, in part, on the road, in your car, riding through the open landscape.

    We've got tons of poems and stories and movies about boys in their cars. It's great to see one with girls in their own cars. Sure flirting with boys. But not just riding in boys' cars and dangling on boys' expectations. This is wonderfully affirming!

  16. Wow - a movie here! love it, love it!!

  17. This is such a great girly poem - the ear piercing, the boys, the steaming dog, the dry desert wind, the piss-warm lakewater - all evoked a remembered youth. Thanks for sharing Cynthia.

  18. You've created a world for me, it reminds me of my own youth, and yet not - and that's the best kind of story, I think, one that pulls me into familiar territory and presents new aspects on it too. Your poem reads like a joyride, fast and free... Love it!

  19. The details here are wonderful. I could really feel the adventure.

  20. You've done a great job of capturing those moments, and it has such a perfect ending.

  21. Wonderfully vivid and authentically American to this Brit who longs still to criss-cross the States in a beat-up Chevvy (well, maybe a brand-new Winnebago now!)