Tony Pena

Playing House

When cutting school
Dahlia and Benji would
meet up and crash
at the zombie house,
a barely standing bungalow
held together by cobwebs,
peeling plaster and ghosts of
Natalie Wood and James Dean.
Roasting marshmallows
on a tiny hibachi grill
ripped off from Haggerty
hardware, sipping warm
Schaefers , and chugging
cherry cough syrup.

Plots for world domination
by Jerry’s kids were hatched
by noon and forgotten in
stupors till the frenzied
sober up an hour before
supper when Dahlia took
to shaking her watermelon butt
in baggy chocolate corduroys,
stripping down to her bra
as the J Geils Band’s cassette,
“Bloodshot,” blasted on
a rusty bottomed boom box
with Benji whooping wildly
and pumping his fist in the air.

Praying to the gods
of rock and roll that one day
the perfect storm between
his heart and head would
spawn a bolt of lightning
to surge down his spine
infusing the nerves and bones
of his Frankenstein legs
with enough kilowatts
to melt the wheelchair
into scrap metal and dance
naked with Dahlia before sharing
orgasms with the only girl worth
roaming the rooms of dreams.


Tony Pena was formerly 2017-2018 Poet Laureate for the city of Beacon, New York. The words have flowed intermittently over the years like a temperamental river with several poems rescued in the flood waters over time but most recently by The Erozine and the Rye Whiskey Review with Best of the Net nominations in 2019. A volume of poetry and flash fiction, “Blood and Beats and Rock n Roll,” is available at Amazon. A chapbook of poetry, “Opening night in Gehenna,” is available from the author.