Before There Were Rainbows

Before there were rainbows, I roamed ambidextrously,
I streeled out into predawn air, senseless between Moon and Mars,
Reeling under Calvinistic cinder blocks, I hid from my shadows.

Before there were rainbows, I thought my heart was wooden,
In those days, they had shiny suits of armor awaiting me.
I tried filling them with my syrupy fluid, but it always leaked out.

Before there were rainbows, everyone was Fred or Ginger,
Ozzy or Harriet, Lucy or Ricky, Sonny or Cher, ones, or zeros,
Machine language with a chokehold on the imaginable.

Before there were rainbows, the age of innocence in yearbooks,
In high school pictographs, we were anatomical imitations of expectation,
Like Rockwell paintings, we were predictable, amusing, and safe.

Before there were rainbows, I dare not believe in my spectrum,
No fella sang “I Feel Pretty!” No boy “…could have danced all night!”
It was all covert, something dirty in a bathroom stall
Before there were rainbows.

My muscular lightning belied my vulnerable rain-soaked downpours
Before there were rainbows.

My secret Preludes to the Afternoon of a Fawn went undetected
Before there were rainbows.

I’m a senior now admiring all the hard-won freedom,
All the fluid beauty of the young, recalling the canned laughter
with what we tried to be before there were rainbows.

Thomas Wells’s poetry book “Complexions of Being” was recently released by Yorkshire Publishing. His poetry credits also include Caesura Journal, PS: It’s Poetry, Vols. I & II, an international poetry anthology, Dissident Voice, The Magnolia Review, The Opiate, and Tuck Magazine. Over several decades, his poems have appeared in Visions International, Cafeteria, Gargoyle, and West End Magazine. In 1982, he published his first chapbook of poetry titled "Native Steel" through Black Buzzard Press. He is a member of The Poetry Center of San Jose, California. Read other articles by Thomas.