Give Me Your Best Shot, prose poetry by Roy Eisenstein at
Ralph Nas

Give Me Your Best Shot

Give Me Your Best Shot

written by: Roy Eisenstein



Stick and knuckle kisses raised me hard from my concrete youth

Dad was a lecture and criticism and the strap, so I ran the neighborhood nights just to be anywhere else.

Smoked my teenage cigarettes with the boys while we collared up against the cold winter wind, spit like tough guys and made the noise of grown men to the best of our ability

In and out of gangs for the brotherhood of it

Making families out of other men’s sons

We rumbled and tumbled about to impress one another and to convince ourselves we were brave

Girls were girls.

That soft mystery and confusion that pulled and pushed us in a strange dance of yes and no

My girl was a rose among the weeds and everyone wanted her while I was just lucky and stupid and in love

The war got squeezed into the middle of our lives so we took the oath, shipped out and got lost for a very long time

We counted days to come home only to get the slap of truth that waited for us

No welcome back GI handshakes, no free drink from the old dogs, no hand on the back, just a scowl and accusations and they didn’t understand us and we didn’t understand them and so in fact we may have come back but we never came home

Drugs punched a whole in my old crew

Some dead, some staggering shells of once was

A brutal death march of memories

Ghosts in basements with spikes in their arms and graveyard eyes

Skeletons of youth drained of hope and pumped with dope

Childhood strangers barely familiar to the heart.

My girl and I couldn’t hold it together amid the madness and confusion so we went our ways even though there was no one we wanted to be with more

I floated in aimless circles of cold nothings trying to figure out the where and the why

So I drove America mile after mile never really being anywhere

Just a discharge paper blowing from state to state and existing from one tank of gas to the next

Eventually home again


No beamish boy now, a young old man trying to hang on to daylight

Looking for the sparkle that faded

Time did what time does and I met love again and married and got in the car again. We bounced a bit but made our home on the west coast

Life rolled about in ups and downs and we were fine until we weren’t fine anymore and so we broke the bond that was unbreakable and broken hearted our separate ways

I saw more of the Earth and people came and went

Some names stayed on the roster and kept the link between while others paled into the fog of time

Some came back years later with stories of divorces and kids and money gained and lost and gained again

Some grew beautifully while some fractured and fragmented

Our eyesight’s dimmed as hairlines faded and color eased out to grays

Our flesh changed so that in our mirrors we saw the faces of our parents

For some of us we grew more solid within as we came to honest terms with who we were and weren’t and learned how to be at ease where there once was a runaway train

So love comes and goes, friends and family start to pass away, and we who are left behind have to carry memories wrapped in the weight of loss and find a philosophy that allows us to smile

Latest posts by Roy Eisenstein (see all)