Hang Tough

We were street rats,
junkyard dogs,
real playas —
we were whatever tough happened to be.
Micky was a baller;
knee high socks in pumped up kicks,
baggy shorts, a closet full of jerseys
and a head held high under a backwards cap.
Jay suffered from early on-set boganism;
wife beater under flanno,
jeans ripped at the knees,
hair unwashed, untouched, untidy.
I was a straight-up Salvos shopper
swimming in oversized band t-shirts
and baggy pants,
bum-fluff moustache touched by side fringe.
A rag-tag bunch of boys,
we were lads out on the town
looking to look tough.
Chests out
we swaggered through city streets
starting on kids smaller than us
then picking fights we couldn’t win
so we’d have battle scars
to warn off the next thug.
walking past some store,
we’d hear a certain song
and we were like preteen princesses at a pony party.
But who cares?
What of it?
Even thorn bushes have roses sometimes.

Ron Barton (Western Australia)

First published in Tincture Journal

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