Jersey Shore

By Scott Laudati

there you were
on that jersey sand
in a white bikini
like marilyn monroe
pinned up on a teenager’s wall
or in a jail cell
over a fresh coat of paint.
a girl from a different era
when everything was good
and no sea turtles
swallowed six-pack rings
and i could take my baby
down the parkway
to the casino lights
on a saturday night.

you’d heard about me
but we were kings and queens
so i asked you out anyway.
and you looked back at your friends’
shaking heads
and saw that they cared about your sanity
not your happiness
so you said yes.
i knew forever
could start like that
so i made a mixtape for the drive
and picked you up at seven.
you were a dream i’d been saving
since my first life
and your mother
saw it on my face when
she answered the doorbell,
so she sent you out
into a stranger’s arms
and didn’t worry like she used to.

i remember your high score at the arcade
and the four free pinballs
that dropped in
when you broke the last record.
there wasn’t much you were bad at –
at least i can’t remember anything now –
and how about that sunrise
over the asbury waves
when we bummed a cigarette
and squinted our eyes into darkness
while the sun took the night
and gave us back our youth?

you told your friends about
every other night.
i’ll bet they never heard of that one.

Scott Laudati was born in Staten Island and raised in Hazlet, New Jersey. He is the author of books:
Bone House, Camp Winapooka, The Ever Present Collapse, and Play The Devil. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times and won several awards for his fiction and poetry, including: The 2018 “Riggs Gold Medal Essay Award,” “The Stark Award In Fiction In Honor Of Henry R. Roth,” and the 2018 “The Jack Grapes Poetry Prize.” His work has been published by Columbia University, CUNY, The Bitter Oleander, The Rockford Review, and many others. Scott currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

His latest poetry collection, Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair REDUX is available now from Cephalopress. Check it out here.

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