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@16

by John Ilotan

At sixteen your heart
bleeds
as easily as your skin

I watched my knuckles
wrecked and bloody
decorate the sidewalk
after throwing two
sharp and angry jabs
quick as Sugar-ray
at a schoolyard fence post
that didn't even flinch
a foolish boy broken
over a stupid girl
and it hurt
like nothing else

City nights are still
hot and humid in september
the air is moist
enough to make you sweat
standing still
and the stars
don't shine in Brooklyn
the world stands in boots
on your shoulders
and quarts of beer
and Marlboros
only dull the ache

At sixteen your heart
bleeds
as easily as your skin

So blood and tears paint
an ugly picture
on a white tee-shirt
and I reveled in the satisfaction
of self-destruction
grateful to exchange
one pain for another

05/28/2003

Author's Note: Inspired by John Natoli's Adam the Serpent

Posted on 05/28/2003
Copyright © 2019
John Ilotan

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Agnes Eva on 05/28/03 at 10:53 PM

you capture boyish anger well, and the desperation of its management

Posted by Ashok Sharda on 05/29/03 at 05:16 PM

Well, its pure emotionalism. Anger and deriving pleasure in self-destruction. You expressed it well.

Posted by Christina Bruno on 06/01/03 at 06:54 AM

i love when you write stuff about brooklyn. very vivid picture, i love

Posted by Maryellen Lebeda-Parra on 06/01/03 at 06:47 PM

this is most amazing ... i was very comfortable within the read

Posted by Alex Smyth on 06/06/03 at 01:12 AM

You allow us to momentarily step into the mind of the subject. Very well expressed!

Posted by Rusty C Arquette on 06/07/03 at 02:33 PM

I am attracted to the bricks and mortar feel of this piece; the urban quality as well as the human structure. More intriguing to me is how you relate the anger and the moment, but you've done it from outside the character, not letting the emotive theme bury you. - Image, flow, form are all working quietly overtime. Very well done. - RCat

Posted by Vimal Rony on 06/20/03 at 04:38 AM

The way u write makes a simple piece look extraordinary.

Posted by Beth K Hannah on 08/20/03 at 06:10 AM

i can agree with this. I am a teenager, and have to agree that young hearts hurt so easy. Thank you for such a great poem.

Posted by Ginette T Belle on 08/22/03 at 07:41 PM

"At sixteen your heart bleeds as easily as your skin" what a perfect line to start a wonderful poem packed with strong imagery, enough imagery to feel it to the tips of your soul...I love it...

Posted by Katerina T Nix on 02/29/04 at 01:56 AM

16 wasn't so long ago for me. I think at that point in time our emotions were so extreme. The strange part is how quickly we would forget and the same emotions would come back again and again:) Kat.

Posted by Mike Loftis on 09/05/04 at 12:01 AM

Good description of the rashness of youth

Posted by Melanie J Yarbrough on 04/13/05 at 04:30 PM

John natoli is wonderful-- just like this poem.

Posted by Amanda Conlogue on 07/29/05 at 09:38 PM

I love the sharpness of the language, the images and the line breaks, excellent.

Posted by Melissa Arel on 03/20/09 at 04:13 AM

Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Dave Fitzgerald on 03/20/09 at 12:21 PM

"At sixteen your heart bleeds as easily as your skin" Perfect. Congrats on POTD!

Posted by Joan Serratelli on 03/20/09 at 01:45 PM

Wonderful insight into a 16 yr old's mind. Great choice for POTD!

Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 03/20/09 at 09:58 PM

Well crafted - a nice tight feeling to it. The exchange of pains at the end is a strong finish. Thank you.

Posted by Morgan D Hafele on 03/21/09 at 08:53 PM

damn awesome! well written. hard to forget the bleeding knuckle days.

Posted by Ken Harnisch on 03/24/09 at 03:36 AM

"Quarts of beer and Marlboros only dull the ache"...for me, in Queens, it was Tareytons and Schaefer, but the ache is universal and this poem is searingly on target.

Posted by Philip F De Pinto on 04/04/09 at 12:30 PM

each stanza ravishes the thought process and bleeds it a little.

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