In the ninth grade I met a fantastic number of times
with Cookie Harris in the woods . . . Under the pretense
of going over our Algebra notes, given the pressure
of the pop quizzes being served up then
with an alarming frequency, we’d have at
each other, kissing and squishing
against each other . . . She’d stop, in a manner
peculiar to those times, once I had my first full feel
of her breasts (enormous and soft, as I remember —
a source of fascination and grief
to every frenzied boy I knew),
and then we’d go into the dry-humping
segment of our routine until one of us
rolled over and it would all be over . . .
We would return, sitting on the invariably damp ground
and in utter depression, to the formulas
and to the grade-gettings of the day . . .
She wanted me to be her boyfriend and led me
to believe I could go farther, much farther,
should I but make the noises of consent
on that front, but I had eyes
for one of the DiFilippo twins
who lived across the tracks and resented me
for the poverty of my parents and my own acne
(which Cookie had a touch of as well —
we were poor kids on the outs, with only
bad skin to inherit), so I withheld what was then
the violent tumult of my callow affections . . .
This kind of Marxist melodrama,
rife with the underpinnings of dominance
and submission, was to haunt me