Experimenting with Molotov Cocktails

by Steve Meador
FreeWrights Peer Review
Second Place, November 2012
Judged by Polina Barskova

The aspirin bottle belched a puny whoosh,
a tiny brook of fire, but we wanted more
BOOYAH! and a puking river of liquid Hell.
So, we sought the expertise of Dr. Pepper,
the hillbilly madness of Mountain Dew,
the intoxicating fumes of high-octane Shell.
The owner of the dairy store across the alley
watched as he carried out empty milk crates,
then hurried across the blacktop and uttered,
“What the fuck are you boys doing?”
as though it were something provincial,
an anomaly we brought from the south
in a carpetbag filled with flames
that wagged in a colloquial tongue.
Didn’t he watch Roadrunner, Tom & Jerry
or Walter Cronkite on the evening news?
Doesn’t he remember us buying bottles
of pop within the last hour and paying
with silver certificates that he admired
and tucked into his pocket, instead
of ringing the sale on the cash register?
Patrick struck a match down his zipper
and touched it to the wick, a strip ripped
from an old tee shirt. Mark froze
in a Statue of Liberty pose, before the store
owner screamed at him to throw the bomb.
The toss could have been fire engine-worthy,
but it was the season of hardy green.
The spirea suffered greatly, raspberries
split and juiced as if being baked in a tart.
The next bottle shattered against bricks
of the barbeque pit in our back yard.
We waited for glass fragments to melt
into agate. The fire never got hot enough
to burn the thin shavings of our anger.

Very strong, original, wild combination of a narrative, nightmare and sound-poetry aesthetics. As difficult, tortured as its "contents" might be--one can't help enjoying richness of this text's sensory realm. ---Polina Barskova