“If you can’t run, you’re a meal.”  I can’t remember when it was that I heard this I just know I was in my youth sometime, somewhere?  For those of you who don’t know this phrase it was spewed like venom from the mouth of Henry Rollins.  When you are a young man you gravitate to people you can relate to. Maybe even look up to.  Looking up to someone was very difficult for me as I didn’t believe in anybody.  I was a very angry young boy/man like a lot of kids with teenaged angst.  I was angry that I was from a broken home.  I was ferocious and hateful with the death of my father when I was 17.  I was inflamed with the so called authority figures at the teaching establishments I was shackled to.  Men like Henry helped me make sense of things.  Often a venting ground for me to rage with someone else who I felt was like minded.

I grew up different like every other special little snow flake.  I was likable, funny and popular when I wanted to be.  And a hateful prick at the drop of a dime.  Hot headed and quick to act was a quality I wore stapled, No, nailed to my arm.  In a way I still am today but more patient and willing to bide my time to strike.  Unlike my friends that I’ve become aquatinted with these last few years; I was not an athlete in school.  In fact I abhorred most jocks.  I say most because there were a few that I got along with rather well.  These were the ones that could strew words together and actually read books. The lot were dim witted pieces of shit and in turn would retaliate on the weak or different.  These turds usually were very abusive to women as well.  These were the worlds future drunk, wife and child beaters of ‘Merica. But hey, they could play football or what ever other sport they played.  These walking carcasses were always in my cross hairs. I got kicked out of school well over a dozen times for fighting. And more times then not it was for sticking up for someone.  Bullying really bothered me and I took it upon myself, no matter what state I was in, to take out my hatred and rage on unsuspecting thugs preying on little guys and especially girls. (There is a reason for that as well and I will write about that at a different time.) My family moved a lot when I was growing up and to point I’ve served time in four different High Schools.  So with authority I can attest that people are the same everywhere.  Especially most jocks.

You might think with my loathing that I also hated sports?  Nope.  In fact I was in love with football.  I was quite the dichotomy.  On the one hand I was this long haired, stoner punk rocker musician, writer and poet.  On the other I liked lifting and loved sports. Never really had many friends who liked all these things together. In fact two years in a row I got the “Jeckyll and Hyde Award”  at the end of the year from teachers and class mates who voted.  I was proud of those.  I had them displayed on my bedroom wall next to my Ozzy picture.  The one where he has a dove in his mouth. I would spend many a night in that room listening to the Ramones or Sabbath and lifting the Sears barbell over my head as many times as I could or seeing how many pushups I could do.  All this made the anger ease. This anger led to some interesting times and opportunities.

One such opportunity came about after a fight and suspension.  My Mom, teachers and the Dean were at their wits end with me.  Rightfully so, but what was funny was they really were proud of me too.  It was morning break (we had a break at this one school I went to after 3rd period. For 15 minutes we had free time to wander, eat a snack etc.) and I was wandering the halls looking for my girl friend and my best friend.  I had my walkman on and was listening to some SABBATH at a very loud decibel.  I didn’t like the usually drivel being puked by the wall leaners and mouth breathers. It was one of my few moments of sanity throughout the day and it was so cool watching everyone and not hearing them.  Very apocalyptic.  As I turned the corner I saw a raucous at one of the lockers and the crowd kinda parted a bit.  I could see this beast of a kid with his hand to the throat of a girl and he was pushing her against the locker.  No one was doing a damn thing and all I saw was fear.  Fear in her being and fear in the eyes of  the small crowd that had gathered. Yet no one moved.  As I approached I handed my walkmen to a kid leaning on his locker and kept walking towards them.  I got closer and noticed the guy was the line backer for the school football team.  The slow burn raged and my face got hot.  I took he’s knee out with one side kick and began to pummel his jaw and face until I felt my hands get wet. I distinctly remember saying to myself “leave his throat alone.”  So I stopped for split second and asked the girl if she was ok?  She nodded as I turned and grabbed his hand and bent it back as far as it would go and instructed him to apologize. As he began his murmur I was lifted off my feet by the football coach who was also one of the Biology teachers.  The guy was jacked.  He had me in a full nelson and threw me to the ground after I stopped trying to kick him.  I stood up and walked to the deans office.  I sat down and asked for a paper towel.  I wanted to make sure it wasn’t my blood on my hands.

As I sat there listening to the Dean tell me again about their policy on fighting I began to day dream.  I just wanted to leave.  She then, the Dean, said something that snapped me back again.

“Matt, I do have to say that that was a very courageous and honorable thing you did out there for her.  Although quite violent.  I’m worried about your rage but not your motive.  The girl would like to thank you later but we are not done here.  That boy is very big. One of these days your going to… Sigh… This is so difficult.  We have to come up with some sort of discipline for you as we can’t have this kind of thing going on here.  The other boy has already been sent to the Dr. and he is being disciplined for his actions as well.  Mr. B actually witnessed some of the action and some of the kids came forward too.  You are suspended for a week but it’s in school suspension. You’re very fortunate in that you will not be expelled.  You have a lot of fighting violations but I do understand that this different.  But I need to keep decorum.”

Me: ” Can’t I just go home?”

Dean: “No.  You will be in here with me for the week.  All your work will be here and during the normal breaks you can read or write what ever you want.  I know you like that.  You’re very good by the way. Also, Mr. B would like to talk to you tomorrow before first bell.  He’ll meet you here.”

Me: “Sounds riveting.”

The next morning I sat waiting at my desk of solitude ,that was to be my only companion for the week, in the corner of the Deans office reading and waiting for Mr. B.  He strolls in looking pompous and jacked like always.  He cracked me up but his physical appearance was impressive and kinda scary.  He preceded to tell me how pissed he was that I “fucked up one of my best players.  Not only is he suspended but his knee is all jacked up.  You’re lucky it’s not busted.” I told him “He can go fuck himself. He’s an asshole. I’m only sorry for not breaking it. I guess I need to get stronger?”  You could talk like this with Mr. B as he was ” A fucking jock.”  But he was cool too. He then sat down and said how cool it was what I did and “not many people would take it upon themselves to do something like that. What is it with you?  I’ve seen you during football in PE class by the way. Mr. D (one of the assistant coaches and PE teacher) said he asked if you would be interested in trying out and you said “fuck you and your team.” I’ve seen how fast you are. Your not tall but you’re…well… mean. Why won’t you try out? It might be what you are looking for.  It’ll help focus that rage.

“I hate jocks.”

“Fair enough.  But I do know you’re friends with Teddy (Defensive back.) He plays.

“Teddy’s ghetto.  He’s different.”

“Tell you what.  Your Mom said she is friends with someone who’s husband is a coach for one of the city leagues.  Do yourself a favor and go check it out.  Sometimes it’s the training that hooks some guys.  If anything you can use that.  Learn how to build yourself.  Learn how to use the rage then put it away.  To focus.  If you don’t you will hurt yourself or someone and really fuck up.”

“K.”  And I went back to reading.

I really was a dick when I look back on things.  Mr.B was right and he was a very cool guy.  I ended up asking my Mom if I could play and she hooked it all up with her friend. It proved to be everything Mr.B had said.  Even at my size, 5’8 and 127 pounds, I played on both sides of the ball. The defensive coach dubbed me “bull dogg.” He used to be an assistant coach for one of the colleges in town and showed us some dirty tricks to “help us shorter guys.” I learned how to pop up real fast, hit the guy in the chest and right when you hit, you push your fists up into their chin. I was thrilled as you got to punch guys in the face but if you got caught and penalized the coaches would flip out.  That was fun and funny too. I left every game with bloody knuckles.  I loved that part. I was mean.  Have I said that before?

After that season I moved yet again and the high school I ended up at was a mess.  The school was riddled with gang problems and the football team was HUGE.  The try outs got canceled twice because of fights and arrests and at that point I’d had enough.  All though I was pretty good and loved to train I knew where my true love was.  The arts. I also new at some point my height would be an issue.  So I spent the rest of my teen years and the first half of my adult life in a van playing music.  Writing stories.  Writing poetry.  Sticking up for anyone who was being bullied. And… I never stopped lifting or training even if I didn’t have weights. That same slow burn that I had as a kid is still here with me as an adult. Yet it sits next to me instead of inside me. Like a good friend. I have kids of my own now who watch everything I do.  My home is not a broken home.  I will not break their hearts that way.  But I will teach them to train.  Both in mind and in body.  To control that slow burn. To never be someone’s meal.

Here’s a poem/song I wrote that kinda sums up thing s for me.  Enjoy




Mocking the morning
In bloom fine fragrances
A cold new moon grows a
Slave to a Dead relationship

Black like Sunday,
With blind sunshine.
Plastic icy faces
A plastic attraction

Hearts full of memories and
Memories full of accidents
I wonder what it’s like?
A hell without sin

A loud crowd grows, sitting
In the waiting room thats my head
I’m burning pictures of you
Inside my head.
Spilling cashmere, on a heart
That’s never, never been fed
The ghost in you is killing
What’s been said

Cold new moon grows
Grey city sky,
Candy apple grey
The fine art of imperfection

Another Dirty Sunday
The radio’s on, Listening
Hearts full of memories and
Memories full of accidents

And nothing, comes from nothing,comes from nothing

A loud crowd grows sitting
In the waiting room that’s my head
Burning pictures of you
inside my head.
Spilling cashmere on a heart that’s
Never ,never been fed.
The ghost in you is killing
Whats been said.

Choking down bitter pills
To stay Awake.
Down by a suicide
It’s a fine invitation that would be a mistake.

Another dirty Sunday
I wonder what it’s like;
A Hell without sin?
A cellophane wall of melody
A little taste of heaven I hope some one



© Carlson 2012