November 30, 2009

Alex Odom

Living in the World

I have not lived in a world without Nintendo,
color or cable TV, without the internet—
though I did not know what it was
until I was twelve—without confusion,
or where a child can understand things like:

why no one picks him for kick-ball;
why parents fight,
downsizing, depression, suicide;
a world without single moms;

a world without little boys and little girls
holding hands on the walk home from school,
hoping their friends will not see and tease them;

without older boys and older girls
sneaking under cold aluminum bleachers;
fumbling in the backseats of beat-up Fords;
buying cheap beer,
Trojan condoms,
pregnancy tests;

a world without Prozac—
though it was not
prescribed to me until I was nineteen—

or without some mothers
pushing their sons
to go to college,
get a job, a wife,
a house in a nice neighborhood;

a world without Starbucks,
or a world in which it was not someone’s job
to sit in a tiny beige cell
and tell other people
I’m sorry we’re going to have to let you go;

a world without husbands and wives fighting
in houses with empty bedrooms,
trying to have babies,
getting excited to hear they are finally pregnant;
a world without some babies born still,

some husbands and wives
seldom speaking or making love;
a world without separate bank accounts,
internet porn,
single-malt scotch—
though I did not acquire
a taste for it until I was twenty-six—

or a world in which little boys
do not grow into little men
and spend weeks in motel rooms,
because they are afraid
to meet the same ends as their fathers.


Alex Odom is pursuing an MA in Creative Writing at Longwood University, with a concentration in playwriting. His plays have been produced at the Avastama Play Festival and New Acme Winter Works Festival. His work has been published by One Act Play Depot, Boston Literary Magazine, Foundling Review, Six Sentences, 50 to 1, and Flashquake. He is the founder and Administrative Director of 0 to 60: Longwood Ten-Minute Play Festival, and the co-founder and prose editor of Picture Postcard Press.

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