THE WEREWOLF OF BROADWAY

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One cannot imagine a man-made monster or a werewolf creating a panic in the garish world of Times Square; more than likely he would be looked upon as a further interesting example of the native product.

                                                       (Drake Douglas, Horror!)

1. Growing Up in Oaktree, Ohio

It’s terrible those days to be afraid at the sunset, to tremble

as darkness falls before the rising of the moon. You feel

your upper canines growing and fur coming out on your forehead.

You shiver as moonlight appears at the edges of the window shade.

.

Others dreamed of spectacular touchdowns, of the first sweet screw,

of Prince Charming in a white convertible; I dreamed I wouldn’t be

the different apple of the bushel, the one to mope along the streets

and frown against the fence posts, the only werewolf in town.

.

To think, some morning—to wake and be a normal boy

with all new feelings in my bones. The next full-moon night

I could work geometry problems like all the other kids,

not have to crow to that merciless disc of light.

.

2. What Boy Wants a Beard on His Forehead?

I would jam a chair against my door and experiment at the mirror,

trying to bind the hair away with my sister’s bobby pins. One night

I shaved it off but it grew back in an hour; next day in school

I had razor gashes as numerous as my pimples.

.

The neighbors complained about the howling. My parents locked me

in my room those nights, then at breakfast looked the other way.

Finally one night in the cemetery, as I sat on a gravestone, twisting

my flesh for lonesome pleasure, who should come by but Sheila Foster?

She was watching me, I’m sure, although her back was turned.

.

Embarrassed, I dropped my hand and said, to break the silence,

“Hello, Sheil, nice night.” She turned around and shrieked,

and naturally it was the end for me in Oaktree, Ohio.

.

3. In City Lights

My face is no more odd in mercury and neon light than the stubbled

faces of bums, the painted masks of matrons and whores. And though

I’m jostled by the crowds, I was less at peace on country roads

for here, where nothing is natural, I fit in the landscape.

.

Little children stare, but their parents tug their arms and twist

their little heads around, while they themselves look back

from the corners of their eyes. I never let hostile sneers slip out;

I swallow them, and smile instead to everyone I see.

.

Of course, no one asks me questions like “Where’s the nearest subway?”

and no one, seeking a companion for the night, looks me over.

But, well accustomed to neglect, I’ll accept as a nice surprise

a sympathetic smile or a warm quarter you press into my palm.

.

4. Some Day My Princess

It’s good to watch the men and women wait for one another, looking

happy when they meet, no matter how unlike the ones they dream of

each of them must be. Together they sit in smoky rooms

and sip martinis and laugh, and I think I’d like to be with them.

.

Though shaving, combing are no help for this growth

and orthodontia couldn’t cure my monthly fangs,

the worst is that there’s no one to walk with me on sunny days,

to hold my hand as though she’d stumble without my love.

.

Some midnight when moonlight is brighter than the Broadway signs,

I’ll suddenly find my love, a furry little angel in a trench coat.

Her knees will weaken, like mine, as together we run to Central Park

and on a lonely hill sing together to the moon.

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