Hellion by Matthew J Hall

after school
on the school field
we got through
many bottles and cans
of white lightning
and special brew

sitting around
talking in small circles
alcoholic souls
in the bodies of boys

and once we were
good and drunk
we’d embark on a wild spree
of mindless vandalism

setting fires
spraying paint
and smashing glass

on one such occasion
I took a brick
and threw it through
one of the many panes
in Mr Mcgilligan’s window

as the glass shattered
all over his office floor
I realised that every act of destruction
leading up to this act of destruction
had been an exercise in pointless petulance

I took another brick
and another
and another
and smashed every pane of glass

the following morning
in the clutches of a hangover
way beyond my years
I sat in Mr Mcgilligan’s class

a sweat box of a room
hand-made platitudes
bordered the walls

DON’T FIX THE BLAME
FIX THE PROBLEM

and

YOU’RE ONLY AS SMALL
AS YOUR BIGGEST IDEA

and so on

looking at Mcgilligan’s red face
I wondered if I might vomit
and he looked at mine
and rolled his beady eyes

well, he demanded, what’s the answer, boy?
If you don’t know it by now then you never will!
he said jabbing a fat little finger an inch from my face

he steadied his hand
and the blur subsided
I searched for the answer
but didn’t know what to say

I looked at his fat little finger
at all of his fat little fingers
and I saw lots of little cuts
from where he’d tidied up the shattered glass

and all in a breeze of clarity
my hangover left me
I felt good
and in the remembering
I feel good now
I realised I had known the answer all along
but I never did share it
with Mr Mcgilligan

Matthew J Hall
Matthew J Hall is a UK writer based in Bristol. His poetry chapbook, Pigeons and Peace Doves is available through Blood Pudding Press. He reviews small press books at http://www.screamingwithbrevity.com
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