Monday, February 4, 2019

Peter M. Gordon


I'm that kid Santa brought a cowboy riding an ostrich
from the Island of Misfit Toys, when storms grounded
his sleigh and only Rudolph could light the way. I had
asked for a real cowboy outfit with six gun and star;

when did Roy Rogers ever ride an ostrich? Mom and Dad
always said I wasn't good like everyone else, and now
I had proof Santa Claus agreed with them. I started
to study normal kids, to see why they deserved good toys.

Even after the cowboy told me how happy he was to have
a boy to play with, I still felt alone. None of the other boys’.
toys talked to them, and if Howie the tough kid knew
my toy talked he'd hit and kick me harder.

I could only be safe in silence, so I learned to blend in,
even excel -- girlfriends, straight A's, soccer team captain.
If I ever forgot my true self my cowboy and ostrich
reminded me. I'm old enough to buy a real six shooter now.

I filled that misfit toy full of lead until only the cowboy's
hat and ostrich's tail were recognizable. After reloading,
I slid the still warm pistol into my pocket.
I'm done studying. Time to graduate.

Peter reads "Island of Misfit Toys":

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Peter confesses: "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer is one of my family's favorite holiday specials. I watched its premiere in 1964, and just about every Christmas season since. This time, I got to thinking about what would happen to the self-esteem of the children who got some of the misfit toys for Christmas."

PETER M. GORDON has over 100 poems appear in publications including Slipstream, the Journal of Florida Literature, Poetry Breakfast, and others. He is the author of two collections: Two Car Garage and Let's Play Two: Poems about Baseball. Peter earned a BA from Yale and MFA from Carnegie-Mellon, and teaches in Full Sail University's Film Production MFA program.

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