Best Practice

You’d see them hauling speakers at a gig, / drinking Cokes and fondly reminiscing / about that night (the ketamine! The wig!)

Profile of Alexandra Oliver

Your emotions make you a monster.
—The Dead Kennedys

We thought it would be over soon enough.
He’d listen to the facts and move along,
find a job, a house, someone to love,
but we were wrong.

The guys we knew from way back when went clean;
our much sought-after punk lords of misrule
took up cycling, ran a snow machine,
went back to school

while weary girlfriends (Bev or Jane or Bree)
coaxed them into getting on the ladder:
finding a Special out by the PNE
they’d fix together.

If kids appeared, they’d step up to the plate,
cart them up to soccer on the Drive,
put on an act that they had a cleaner slate,
master the high five.

You’d see them hauling speakers at a gig,
drinking Cokes and fondly reminiscing
about that night (the ketamine! The wig!)
a friend went missing.

We told ourselves that maybe they were sellouts,
but, though they thickened up, becoming squares,
a part of us inside was somewhat jealous.
The God that spares

did not spare him. He wouldn’t ever soften;
he curled his evil into my life and yours,
and that is why our mother says so often,
Check the doors.

Alexandra Oliver
Alexandra Oliver won the 2014 Pat Lowther Award for Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway.

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