Certain Stimmuli by Jeff Jeppessen

road construction and the smell of hot tar
is those days in fourth or maybe
fifth grade when we had extended recesses
because fumes from the tar used by the roofing guys permeated the school
drove all of us outdoors
students and teachers and librarians

me and some other boys hunkered in these big round concrete
tunnel pieces on the playground
scrawled with older kids’ graffiti
shady and cool on those hot afternoons

so we hung out in the rings and complained about the awful smell
how it burned the nose and throat
we talked also of important things
laughed and snorted like well
kids although we knew we weren’t

I’m sure it was mainly about girls and cigarettes
what the bad words and drawings
splashed on the insides of the concrete rings
might really mean
do you think it really looks like that?

we swore up and down
we would never ever do
the same cruel things our parents did
right now the burning at the back of the throat
stinging eyes
is just fumes from hot tar

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