Halloween Dance: A Poem

For the month of October Listing Toward Forty is Listing Toward Halloween, featuring a variety of Halloween posts including many by guest authors. This is a poem by James McManus.


Halloween dance and she should go with me
I spied her in sophomore, but now was junior and that’s when you’re sposeta have one
Like hold hands and the dance thing
She in her plaid skirt and why did I tell folks I wanted to be a priest?
Toby and me walk all day long tryin to figure out a way to ask her
She looks kinder when she wears her blue blouse
The white one scares me cause loose buttons let me catch the slide of her breasts
or what will be breasts
I got enough scared in me without breasts
Toby don’t ask, he just take
He pee, tree is his…he bark, squirrel gets treed
If he wanted her he would just pee on her
I thought about it and sometimes I’m scared enough to pee on her
My Mama likes lists
Chores for the day…what we owe, what we pay…food we want, food we can get
I make one tween girl and God
If God really better, he have way more on his side of the list
God is Andre the Giant but girl is Roddy Piper
And God got the heaven thing which seems big
Toby bit the neighbor and almost got sent to the pound
But he knocked that off and is still with us
I wanna be Toby
God is good to know cuz my old dog, Bummer, is with him
and one day…me, Bummer and Toby eat squirrels with St. Peter
but now Toby is here and he keeps lookin in my cowardly eyes
til I just
and who cares if I marked my pants
Cuz orange and yellow greens are now my favorite color
and Toby don’t like her and I don’t care
and we ain’t got no costumes
and we can’t trick nor treat
and I don’t care that God lost
cuz her costume is as my girlfriend

James McManus is the author of six plays: Love on San Pedro, Dorothy 6, Bulldog Whiskey, Underground, Cherry Smoke and Blood Potato. His plays have been developed and performed at Labyrinth Theater Company, Apothecary Theatre Company, The Clockwork Theatre, Glass Umbrella Creative (Sydney), Revolt Theatre (Melbourne), Gurnet Theatre Project, The Kennedy Center, The BE Company, Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, The Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Barebones Productions, Irish Repertory Theatre, Son of Semele, The Side Project Theatre Company, The Lark Play Development Center, The Inkwell, Diverse City Theater Company, and the August Wilson Center for African American Culture. James was the recipient of the 2006 Princess Grace Award in Playwriting for Cherry Smoke, which is published by Samuel French. He is a resident playwright at New Dramatists.

All Halloween posts from this series can be found here.

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