I Gave Away That Kid

Where does our youth go when they are beginning to move toward adulthood?  War, professional sports, college, or a job come to mind.  They are making their lives.  Some of us are sent off blessed, some unblessed.  Some have advantages, others don’t.  Some are pushed out of the nest while others are gently moved to a new point to launch from.  How did your journey begin?  Like life and people, this poem is full of contradictions.

I Gave Away That Kid                                                                      Grace Paley

I gave away that kidlike he was an old button

Here old button get off of me

I don’t need you anymore

go on get out of here

get into the army

sew yourself onto the colonel’s shirt

or the captain’s fly       jackass

don’t you have any sense

don’t you read the papers

why are you leaving now?

That kid walked out of here like he was the cat’s pyjamas

what are you wearing p j’s for   you damn fool?

why are you crying   you couldn’t

get another job anywhere anyways

go march to the army’s drummer

be a man like all your dead uncles

then think of something else to do

Lost him, sorry about that the president said

he was a good boy

never see one like him again

Why don’t you repeat that your honor

why don’t you sizzle up the meaning

of that sentence for your breakfast

why don’t you stick him in a prayer

and count to ten before my wife gets you.

That boy is a puddle in Beirut   the paper says

scraped up for singing in church

too bad   too bad is a terrible tune

it’s no song at all     how come you sing it?

I gave away that kidlike he was an old button

Here old button get off ame

I don’t need you anymore

go on get out of here

get into the army

sew yourself onto the colonel’s shirt

or the captain’s fly       jackass

don’t you have any sense

don’t you read the papers

why are you leaving now?

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2 thoughts on “I Gave Away That Kid

  1. So true in so many different ways. Sometimes I wonderful why we even have children. I have shed too many tears for my 35 year old child who is addicted to drugs and must love jail. Sick…totally sick it makes me.

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