Jack Palance

You remind me
I was sixteen once.
Tall enough I was mistaken for a man.
Not old enough to grow a mustache shadow.

Everyday I ventured out into the world.
The world barely noticed me.
I climbed mountains.
I climbed stairs in my five story high school.

We read Steven Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage.
I took it as an instruction manual.
It taught me to accept my trepidations.
And that I would conquer my nerves with experience.

Being about war it taught little about Kindness.
It taught me little about geography as well.
Was it important to learn the location of Beijing?
I bet clocks tick there at the same speed as here.

My first date that ended with a kiss happened at eighteen.
So I cannot help you with dating at sixteen.
Your slender awkwardness has its own charm.
Breathing normally is important.

An old aftershave commercial taught me Confidence is Sexy.
Go from nervous to confident by experiencing dating.
I think that was Jack Palance in the commercial.
You were born the day he died.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney

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