If livin’ is an art.
Then you are Matisse.
You were able to say
nasty things In the 90’s
which would now be hate crimes.

You’d call people horrible names,
as it was par for the course.
Let your hypersexuality
force shockers, and they let you.

You were noble because
you could throw really hard,
hit real good, shoot really well,
drink the most, burn high fires
and frosted those tips.

You eased your way through school,
and it paved your way
for higher learning.

You learned the art
of saying nasty things
that would be considered hate crimes.

You perfected the forced shocker
and shocked more and more.

You were no longer wanted
when it came to throwing really hard,
hitting real good
\or shooting really well.

So you learned to throw
balls in cups and high five.
You made many friends,
you drank every night,
and smoked every morning.

You made it through
in four or five years
and got that Business Degree.

You started in an entry level job
just after college. Your friends
started with you in the same field
in another firm.

You plugged away and changed
your sandals for shoes.
You still said nasty things,
but now they were with close friends.

Most of you stopped the shock
and went on to real relationships.
Some of you still shocked.
Some of you still frosted your tips.

But not you. You climbed
that corporate ladder,
and your friends did too.
They began taking on more clients,
and then one of them was you.
And you knew each other from college,
from the days when you would
throw things in cups.

Then you started to grow with the crowd.
You started to advance with the music.
You started to find real relationships,
and you dated a nice girl from high school.

She remembered you when you
threw really hard, hit really good
and shot really well.
She was too shy then
but always cheered you on.

She was actually someone who you
thought was a loser,
but when you saw her
fifteen years later,
she was smokin’ hot now,
lost her glasses, really grew up.

So you asked her if she
remembered you, and it was like
the captain talking to his biggest fan.

You soon married and had
a couple of kids.
One was a daughter.
Your heart immediately softened.

You began to lose your hair,
but someone loved you
unconditionally, so it was cool.
Plus your friends in other firms were too.

You did less and less
of the drinking barely ever
did the shooting,
or throwing really hard.

You would only, when you
threw the ball to your son
and taught him to respect girls,
and be inclusive,
and that their pronouns could be
whatever they wanted,
That you would be there for them.

Your friends have kids now too.
You talk to them at the golf course
over a cold one.
You then go legally to get some pot
and smoke it on the porch
after the kids are asleep.

Right before you go off to bed,
Watching the evening news,
the sports game, where the ones
who could shoot, and hit things,
and throw real good, made it,
and you wish you were them.
But content that you made it
from the 90’s until now.

The science girl is your wife,
you are a big-time businessman,
you golf with other people
who used to hit, and throw real hard,
and shock, and light fires,
and say nasty things. Things that
would be considered hate crimes today.

Your bed is soft, your family
is beautiful, your pot is legal.
And I write this poem about you.
While you drift off to sleep, Like Matisse.

You have painted the perfect picture.


Jason Wright is the editor and founder of Oddball Magazine. His column appears weekly. His third book, Train of Thought 2: Almost Home is available now at the Oddball Book Store.