A Poem About Growing Up in South Euclid, 1960’s

It’s hard to know what to do with the poems I write. I’ll put a book together some day, but for now I have decided to post the occasional poem to this blog, a blog which originally had nothing to do with poetry and which has been largely inactive for the past two years. So here’s a poem I wrote about growing up in South Euclid in the mid-1960’s. I have a few others from that era, as well. One of the poems I had the most fun writing is about – tangentially, at least – our janitor at Adrian Elementary School, Mr. Bob. I lived on Belvoir and attended Adrian; my family moved to Michigan following my 6th grade year so I never made it to Memorial or Brush. If you enjoy this poem I’d love to hear from you. The easiest way to communicate with me is via email: joeneely55@gmail.com.

Cleveland, 1966

We left the pool together
after such fun with friends
that you risked being late,
and my bike’s banana seat
made easy what was awkward
so you climbed aboard.

Having dreamed of this moment
I pedaled slowly, wishing
the journey might never end
and you had no choice;
I can see that now.

“We’ll never get there in time”
you said, and I was embarrassed
but I knew you understood,
knew by your kindness
and the trusting way
you held on to my hips
when I returned from my reverie
and pedaled furiously
to deliver you on time,
just as your family sat down to eat.
You would pay no penalty
and I set off for my own home,
my own family meal.

That was my introduction
to the puzzling nature of love,
the moment I first understood
love could be more complicated
than a pretty girl, a summer day
and a Schwinn Stingray.

– Joseph Neely, all rights reserved

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3 Responses to A Poem About Growing Up in South Euclid, 1960’s

  1. Haven’t seen you guys for awhile. Was wondering the other day if you two were still paddling…?

  2. Joe Neely says:

    Hey, nice to hear from you. As you know, we finished our quest to paddle the length of the Grand River. Since that time we have not paddled together, although the fact that you asked makes me anxious to do so. Stay tuned. And you?

  3. rothpoetry says:

    I love your poem and the memories it conjures up! I remember pushing my son on a banana seat bike when he was learning to ride! Great memories!

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