When My Guitar Was Hocked

When mother, sister and I went into hiding,
I was wearing my school uniform.
I was squeezing blackheads from my nose.
I was wrapping my hair around my head with bobby pins.
I was listening to The Captain and Tennille.

I was watching the same episode of I Love Lucy.
I was reading The Grapes of Wrath.
I did not know how to Haiku.
I did not answer the telephone.

When my guitar was hocked,
I was twirling my hair, blowing my nose,
dipping the Ruffles have Ridges
into sour cream with Lipton Onion Soup Mix.
I was gulping down a Pepsi.
I was playing Fur Elise on the Piano.
I was turning fifteen.

When we came out of hiding,

There was cockroach spray stain
where the Sacred Heart used to be.
We could not wash our clothes.
The washer and dryer had been hocked.
We could not sit in the living room.
The sofa and coffee table had been hocked.
The dining room furniture was still there.
No one wanted that.

My father had disappeared.
We took off to L.A. the next week.

When we arrived in L.A.,
I started Hollywood High.
My uniform was given to the Salvation Army.
I wore bell bottoms and earth shoes.
And a mood ring which was always yellow.

There were dead frogs in biology.
I still squeezed the blackheads from my nose.
I still watched I Love Lucy.
Bohemian Rhapsody was on the radio.
We found another Jesus to hang on the wall.

Three years later,
when my father died,
from an overdose of lithium
while trying to swallow
a peanut butter and jelly sandwich
we did not have to hide anymore.

Yet we could not find a reason not to.

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