Mendel Letters 69 — Middle School Poetry
March 19, 2022
Why didn’t you warn me?
Rule 1: You should never write for your middle school literary magazine or yearbook. Someone might find it years later and send it to you.
Rule 2: While you are avoiding publication, you probably should also refuse to be photographed for the yearbook. You don’t want to remember what you looked like at that age. In my case, it was very skinny with lots of pimples.
The Struggle was my contribution to the 1964 JHS 82 Bronx Yearbook, with anthropomorphism and mixed metaphors. Someone sent it to me on Facebook as a response to my letters addressed to you. “Waves licking their chops?”
“Furiously the water poured over the cliff and down toward the sea. From my vantage point high above the actual happening, I saw a helpless sailing vessel anchored in the path of this killer dam-burst. As the water hurled itself against the ship’s side it bobbed up in an effort to escape this murderous fate. Once again the waves attacked, this time licking their chops as they prepared for the kill. Nervously I shifted, and then an idea struck me. As the ship began to sink under the mighty power of the tyrannical waves, I turned off my bathtub faucet and rescued the soap.”
It’s almost enough to make me swear off baths!
Hard copies of these typed letters were discovered in an old camp trunk in the basement storage facility of one of the few buildings that remain standing in this Brooklyn neighborhood. The building is quite decrepit and is scheduled for demolition. The letters were found in November 2048 by a teenager who believes they were written by his great-grandfather. The letters are addressed to Mendel, the letter writer’s father, who appears to have been dead for at least six years when his son, whose name we are unsure of, started to write him. The son appears very agitated in some of the letters. With permission from the family, we are publishing them on the date they were written, only 28 years later.
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