Thunder and Lightning

I met Zeus
on the dance floor
a nice kid
always happy
smiling
dancing friendly

Ch. 1

I would see him
from time to time
in Firewaters
and then the Beach Bar

We never hung
out outside
of the clubs though

Ch. 2

And too I knew
a man named
PJ

we

the three of us

dancers
each with our own
style

PJ a black Jamaican
friendly relaxed
skinny young guy

Zeus about 5’5′
Latino

and me

Ch. 3

This is Atlantic City
and so we go
together
the three of us

leaving Bally’s Beach Bar
with a girl on our arm
to a local latin
after-hours
club to dance
and they buy some drinks
and I drink my water

and its nice
and I give Zeus a ride
home
and get to learn
a little more about him

Ch. 4

He tells me about
how he is only 21
but he’s
been in prison
for 2 years

and I start to realize
those tattoos aren’t
just some fashion
accessory

they really mean something

real

Ch. 5

And I drop him off
at his house
and make my way home

and get ready to go
out again
dancing
same time same place
next week

Ch. 6

And next week
comes
sure
enough
as it always does

and I see PJ
on the dance
floor
but he isn’t smiling
as usual
I ask him about
Zeus
and he says he
got beat up
he’s in the hospital

he tells me
Zeus and 2 other
guys were jumped
on the street corner
earlier in the week

I don’t know the
details

I hope he’s OK

Ch. 7

And so I dance
with PJ
and with the girls
and I walk one
back to her
house
and we become
friendly

and life moves
on
and I go home
and write stories
and poetry
and perform
at open mics

Ch. 8

And I’m back
this time
at Bally’s Beach Bar
again
and there he is
Zeus
and PJ

my friends

and I go up to him
happy to see him
happy he’s OK
that he’s recovered
that he’s healing

and he’s happy
smiling
and we dance
together
just as always

Ch. 9

And we leave together
and go sit on the bench
on the AC Boardwalk
and this guy comes
up to us
and starts hitting
on the girl we’re with

because he’s drunk
the
usual shit

and he’s talking
about me
and how I have
no game
how I make no money
he has
no idea what
he’s saying
but its somewhat funny

I let him run his mouth
I could care less
I’m enjoying
the night air
the moon
and the breeze

and we get up and
leave

Ch. 10

And its getting
late so PJ
walks home
the girl
he’ll probably
make out with
who knows

And Zeus asks
me for a ride
and I say “Of Course”
and we go home
walking on the
boardwalk
towards
my car parked
where it always
is
outside of the Chelsea Pub

Ch. 11

And as we’re walking
then
suddenly a guy
says something
to Zeus

there on the boardwalk

with about 7
other guys with him

and so Zeus
goes over to him
and they’re having
a conversation
I can’t really hear
what they’re discussing
but
I go over
as requisite in the spirit
of friendship
and shake someone’s
hand
and talk with him
about how his
friend had just
been in a fight
with another man

and I’m like “Really?”
that’s a shame
we’re chill
its all good
I say hello
to the rest
and we’re ready
to go

on our way back home

Ch. 12

And I can tell Zeus
is worked up about
something
he’s talking quickly
hyper-ventalating
telling me
how the guy calling
him over
had asked him
about the beating
he had received
the weekend before
the fight
the turmoil
the hot-water
boil

He had asked him
whether he had
started the fight
prior
but Zeus replied
in anger he had
been jumped
he was overwhelmed
he was snuck
that’s the way it was

Little did I know
this was the conversation
going on

And he’s telling me
these things
and saying thanks
to me for having
“Stepped Up”
for having his back
going in there
in case something
happened

and I’m thinking
what is this kid
talking about?

I thought they were
just conversating
apparently
there were some
lines
written I hadn’t
been reading

Ch. 13

And he’s telling
me how we almost
were in a fight
just then
because he was
getting upset
and about to throw
blows
about to swing
first
and there were 8
of them and only 2 of us
how I would have
been involved
I would have gotten
beat up

and now I’m thinking
What the Fuck?

Who knew
the situation I was in
good thing I’m friendly
and I guess somewhat
oblivious
it never would have
occurred to me in a million
years
we were in trouble
we were so close
to being in a rumble

Thunder and Lightning
Zeus

chill out on a cloud
put down your anger
calm your emotions
the electrons
the energy is running
through you
streaming
flowing
I can see that
but
you have to be careful
don’t
get twisted
don’t get out of whack

Ch. 14

I see the heat
clearly
he’s got a target on his
back
there’s bad blood in these
streets

How did I ever wind
up in these situations?

I guess that’s what
happens when you’re
a dancer and your
friendly and chill
you wind up attracting
people of all different
cultures
but
still
sometimes there’s
just too much trouble
around you
when others
have their own situations
and momentums
before they even met you

going on

Ch. 15

And now we’re at my
car parked
in front of Chelsea Pub
and there are a bunch
of tourists

your typical white
group of girls and guys
about 10 of them
from New York
or wherever they
come here to Atlantic City
to vacation
they are all drunk
stumbling
yelling loudly about
stupid meaningless
bullshit

and Zeus says
“Here we go again,
if they come over
here I’m going to
get into a fight with them.”

and I say to him

“Zeus, man, don’t worry
about them.
Don’t worry about all these
people these strangers
you can’t take them seriously
I don’t even hear
them
follow me.
You need to be smart
You need to be focused
You need to over-come
all this bullshit.
It’s meaningless.”

“Don’t talk to strangers
Don’t stir up trouble
I know you’re tough
you don’t have to prove
it to others
this isn’t prison
this is a street corner
just be chill
and no one will mess
with you
if something happens
and you need to defend
yourself that’s different
but until that moment
which hopefully will
never happen
don’t worry about
arguing or swinging first
let’s just go home

and relax.”

Ch. 16

And he says to
me
of course mark
you’re right

and he’s nodding
his head
realizing the trouble
he’s in
the situation at hand
how he’s
causing commotion
kicking up sand
with a target on his
back
too much pride in
his chest

He starts talking
about the guy on the bench
the one taunting
me saying I have no
game
that I make no money
the random drunken
idiot
muttering
nonsense

and He’s telling me
How he was thinking
of fighting
him or at least
saying something
telling him
about how I do have
game
and all that

and I just say to him
“Zeus, man
listen don’t worry about
what random people
say
just let it go
it’s a joke
it’s nothing
why argue with him
who cares
what he thinks
he doesn’t know me
he doesn’t know
if I have game or not
he’s just talking
stupidity
let him go his way
and we’ll go our own
instead
of spending
your time with these
morons and drunks
and belligerent idiots
on the street corners
we could be at the bar
talking to girls”

And he looks at me
realizing the truth
of these words
wanting
to be a warrior
of peace

I know he has it within
him
I just hope he makes
it long enough
to see it happen

to see his SON
grow up to be
a man
to guide
him the right
way
the path of peace
and love and harmony

and I go home
and go
to SLEEP