There were 12 other students
that first time in Mexico,
and one of them was a young man,
who defied his lack of depth
when he asked
“How come the kids back in the states
have everything and seem so dissatisfied with it,
while the kids here have nothing
and are always laughing?”
and even if I could have
offered an answer,
I surely didn’t have the time.
We were in a church square,
and nearby were giggling boys
playing king of the mountain
on a wide-stone wall.
I rolled solo my second time down,
and so I was, as I
walked back to my apartment
on the city’s south side,
when I saw
the boy outside the bodega
with the bottlecaps,
hundreds of them,
lined like armies in battle
near the trunk of a tree
and where the curb meets the street.
I wish I’d looked around to see
just how big of a bag it would take
to hold them all.
And this kid was lost in the world.
Nothing existed but
the battle of the bottlecaps.
I wanted to take a picture,
but knew I wouldn’t want
a strange man taking a picture of my son,
so I didn’t.
These days I find myself with
two boys of my own,
and we give them just about everything;
sometimes it doesn’t seem enough,
and I wish I had a picture of
that boy with those bottle-caps
to let them know
the real joy lies within.
They say a picture is worth
a thousand words;
got some of those back.
8 Replies to “The Mexican boy and the battle of the bottle-caps–a poem”
‘ real joy lies within us’- i loved this line.
It’s so true. It’s nothing but a conscious choice. Working with the public, I see so many people who simply choose to live and think negatively every day. If you give them a reason to be positive, that just pisses them off more. Sad. I would be sick if I lived that way. I know you know exactly what I mean. Be well, my brother, and keep putting it on that page.
Loved this, Paul. I saw this every day throughout my career. . .kids who had everything and kids who wished just to have something. In our modern world of technology, kids (and adults) are too quickly immersed into their gadgets. I wish more kids today would be creative enough to play army with bottlecaps!!
Yeah, Principal Scott, it was a nice sight to see. That boy didn’t have a care in the world. Much love. Thanks for reading and commenting.
Very Good Paul. I spoil all my kids. Maybe because I want them to have what I didn’t growing up, but in retrospect, I wasn’t in need growing up either. Have we instilled this expectation (entitlement) in our children because we just wanted them to have it better than we did?
That’s a great question, Tony. Not only do I spoil my kids, but I’ve always done so proudly. Now, I’m trying to rein it in a bit, and they don’t like that, the reining in; they don’t like it one bit. Much love, my brother. Thanks for reading an weighing in.
Nice! Love this!
Thanks, Suze. Kiss the girls, and we’ll see you Thursday.