Guest Poet David Miller

To Watch the Lights and Shoot the Breeze

Sometimes we used to park
Up in the hills, above the orange groves, 
On curvy dirt roads 
Used mostly by fruit pickers, 
Above the last house and 
Beyond the outskirts of town, 
While our parents and 
Prudish classmates lay in bed or 
Watched the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

We sat inside, outside and even on 
The hood of my two-door-Dodge-Dart and
Smoked our weed in pipes or papers and
Drank beer we pimped from the 7-11, 
Sometimes even -yaow!- tequila, 
Talking about beautiful girls and 
Awkwardly trying, never succeeding,
To admit that we were shy, and
Feared these girls who we 
Loved or liked or hated now, 
Who had the power to reduce
What we misnamed our manliness 
To nothing more than childish adolescence.

We imagined that the city lights 
Were those of another city, Hollywood maybe, 
Someplace more exciting, and 
we talked about the people who 
Lived there and wondered what 
They were doing at that moment,
-Sleeping? Partying? Having sex?- As if 
All the beautiful movie stars in Hollywood 
Were sleeping with each other, or drinking 
Fancy drinks mixed and served by maids or 
Butlers, and probably even snorting
Cocaine, while pimps and hookers and winos
Walk along what might be say- Hollywood Boulevard?,
Instead of Main Street, 
Which from where we sat was a long line 
Of double-dots that dimly shone through a
Frosty haze of night time mist which lingered
In the cool still air above the valley.

We traded stories about where wed be
In five-ten-fifteen years, provided
We could get through high school without 
Getting kicked out for misbehaving, or 
Flunking out and becoming bums or 
Fast-food lifers, serving burgers and tacos
To our successful friends who stayed home, 
Studying and sleeping, instead of parking 
On cool moonlit school nights
To watch the lights and shoot the breeze.

March, 1998

David Miller's Questions:

Does this poem seem to prosaic? If so, is it "bad form" to use or in a good poem?

I would really appreciate your help.

Thank you

Correspond with David Miller at
with your ideas about this poem.

The Albany Poetry Workshop