my dragon eyes

10/13/2022 2 By BuddyCushman

What follows is from a Wednesday morning Zoom LA writing group. Brakeless, in-the-moment, see-what-spills-out-of- the-pen writing. A smidge long, maybe you can scrounge up eight minutes —–

My friend Junior Beebop’s favorite food is scrambled eggs with lots of ketchup. He loves Ring Dings too. Who doesn’t? Me and Junior have been friends for seven years now, I met him right after first grade started. I’d say we’re best friends. I always thought Junior was his real name, then a couple of years ago when I was doing a sleepover I heard his mom call him Wayne. Wayne Beebop. How cool is that? His dad left his mom when Junior was just one-year old, or something, so it’s not the two-letter kind of Jr. Just regular Junior.

One thing that surprised me in the beginning, but not anymore, is Junior wants to be a poet. That’s all he wants, for his whole life, he’s got it planned, move out of Rhode island where we live to somewhere wild on the coast of Oregon and write poems all the time, and then sell enough poems so he can pay for the shack or cottage or wherever he lives real close to the Pacific Ocean and buy lots of eggs and other food – of course Ring Dings, since they rule – and never have any kind of regular job. His mom is a nurse and she’s always sleeping cause she’s so tired from work and Junior has told me about 500 times he never wants to be that tired.

Something else I didn’t tell you yet about Junior is he loves dragons. His mom, her name’s Penny, says Junior has a thing for dragons, which she didn’t need to tell me since I’m with him most of the time and pretty much all he talks about is poetry and Oregon and dragons. When we’re not in school me and Junior spend lots of time on the playground of the elementary school which is halfway in the middle of our two houses. We sit on the merry-go-round or on the swings or the stone wall and talk about stuff, and that’s also where he reads me his poems. I’m the only one who’s heard any of them so far – not even his mom.

We were on the merry-go-round yesterday, it wasn’t spinning because you might puke if you were reading while it was going around. That was when he read me his newest poem. Lucky me, I already memorized it. This is it:

Long ago – maybe it was yesterday – at the edge of the pine forest, there, from the far corner of my eye I saw a great shadow – It was dark, and disappeared into the trees. I knew what it was. I knew who it was. You know too.

Sometimes there’s stuff you can’t talk about – there’s no right words. Dragons are like that – There’s magic when they fly. Their great tails. The wings you hear between the clouds. Eyes, when they stare right at you, make you feel sleepy. Not like nurses. Like a spell.

One day – it might have been yesterday – I turned in time to see a dragon’s tail disappear into the pine woods. After a while big eyes stared out from between the trees. 

I started laughing.