Treasure Island

Theresa Haffner

(August 25,1945 / Plainwell, Michigan)

Dark Side of Town


we came home on the dark side of town

we came home to a deserted rubble of half forgotten memories, children’s toys, fenced yards grown heavy with weeds, and a cold wind blowing

we came home on the wrong side of the tracks

we came home to the industrial miasma of where we used to live and found we didn’t live there anymore

we came home to the cold shoulder of forgotten dreams and forgotten neighborhoods

we came home to where the unlocked door stood open and the floorboards flapped in the wind that blew through the empty house

we came home to the unreality of lifetimes that used to be lived by the people who used to live them

we came home to the midnight of deserted railroad yards, rusted tracks, empty boxcars, noon whistles and the paper mill once prosperous now deserted but for the white haired old man in the shipping office

we came home to the vacant lot where our childhood was

we came home to a new land of strangers, commerce, and the implacability of change

we came home to where our poverty came as inexplicably as other people’s success

we came home on the dark side of loneliness where a forgotten sun rose over the trancelike horizon of a deserted junkyard

we came home to the inner melancholy where even now the memories lie dormant

we came home to where a greeting card on valentine’s day was the most meaningful thing to us

we came home to lost pages of forgotten poetry flapping like leaves in the wind of silent refuse beaches

we came home to where horizons were closer and the radio tower on the hill beamed concentric rings of our loneliness

we came home to the nocturnal setting of long deserted friends and the surreal back roads of our youth

we came home to where our grandmother’s house was still standing and the city fountain still stood in the center of town

we came home to where there was no modern jazz or poetry and psychedelia was still a long lost dream away

we came home to where the fear of sex merged with the fear of death and the future still lay before us like a carpet of unrealized potential

we came home to the innocence of christmas lights, parental hands held crossing the street, and the expectation of giving

we came home to where our interment by day in the school was sharply contrasted to our interment at home by night

we came home to where snowed in by a blizzard gave us our only holiday and the tiny transmitted voice from the radio station gave us our only hope of vibraphones and cool jazz

we came home to where we looked for but could not find an avenue of entry into the esoteric knowledge of an elite inner circle

we came home to where good grades eventually gave way to apathy and absenteeism

we came home to where we couldn’t keep up with the joneses and so started trying to keep up with ourselves

we came home to where the interstate highway outside our school window beckoned with our only hope of transcendence

we came home to where 2000 miles of culture shock eventually ended our concept of home and family

we came home to where the unconscious mind acted out its messages by means of children’s games and compulsive behavior

we came home to the enchantment of a child’s aquarium and forgotten summer evenings under the tree beside the bank of the river

we came home to where paper dolls offered the only mysterious alternative to Captain Video

we came home to where there was no Devil and Jesus was not yet necessary

we came home to where nobody understood us even as now nobody understands us

we came home to where other children’s spankings stirred within us a strange preoccupation and the reality of jail was beyond our comprehension

we came home to where we knew not the meaning of good and evil and neither did we know death

we came home to where we did not ask and we were not answered

we came home to where we had nothing with us no excess baggage of a child’s remembrances

we came home to where we carried our reality within us

we came home to where no one knew us yet we knew everyone like the back of our hand

we came home on the dark side of town

Submitted: Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Edited: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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Comments about this poem (Dark Side of Town by Theresa Haffner )

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  • Blue Dragonfly (5/23/2012 6:01:00 AM)

    In a lifetime we come home to so many different things which help mould us to our completion..... So, I
    say that hopefully Home is always full of love.... I love this poetry and thank you for sharing (Report) Reply

Read all 3 comments »

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