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Mark M Lichterman

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  What If:Vol5-3, 10/2/52
by Mark M Lichterman
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Rated "G" by the Author.

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Recent poems by Mark M Lichterman
•  Elderly Woman
•  November
•  Words, I Need Words!
•  Really, What If
•  Sex Now
           >> View all 410

What if I never lied?
What if we parted in 1952 and never saw each other again... until?
What if we did meet again... sixty years later?
What if we never met in the first place?
What if?
Vol 5-3 can be found following Vol 5-2


What If: Vol 5-2

Drunk: August 24/25, 1952


Crying, his chest heaving with sobs.


…Forcing himself to stop.

Attempting to force himself to stop,

 at the moment wanting,

needing physical rather than emotional pain,

he bit his lower lip until he tasted blood.

But still, he cried.

Another drink.

Mixing with blood,

The bourbon stinging his lip,

causing a bit more pain than he’d wanted.

Drawing on the now raggedy end of the cigarette

he got a mouthful of tobacco

and not knowing if the cigarette was wet from bourbon,

his tears,


or the snot that ran from his nose,

he flipped the cigarette out the open window.

Taking his handkerchief from his pocket,

he wiped his eyes,

blew his nose,

dabbed at the double cut on his lip…

then took another swig from the bottle,

and another,

then another,

 until eventually…

Emotionally drained,

and thoroughly soused,

his eyes closed and his chin dropped onto his chest.

Not awake and not asleep,

even in this,

for him,

usually peaceful twilight place

he could not escape the ache of his boundless dark depression…

But now, things started to happen:

his head began to spin,

the car began to spin,

the world began to spin,

and, oh, yeah,

his stomach began to spin.





“Uh, oh!”

faster yet.

Wrenching the door open,

staggering to the rear of the car,

bracing himself against the right rear fender of his car

and the front fender of another car…

a white, 1951 Cadillac.

The young man had done dumb and,

oh yeah,

even stupid things in his now eighteen years,

 but he had never been spiteful,

and he had never purposely hurt another person

or damaged someone else’s property,

but now…

Susan’s parents 1951 Cadillac.

“Fuck ’em!”

The young man turned his head to the left and….


What If: Vol 5-3



Midafternoon on this day

the young man

drove to Talman Avenue,

stopped in front of Susan’s building,

looked at her bedroom window,

drove to the corner,

made a U-turn,

passed the building without a glance,

went east on Peterson,

north on Ridge,

east on Howard until he found the building,

then stopped,


put three pennies into the parking meter

and walked through the door of a one-room,

storefront office.


“…A test?”

He asked,

“I’ve got to take a test?”


Tapping the eraser end of a pencil

onto the desk-set blotter,

“That’s right.”

“So, you in?”



Straightening his back.

“Yes, Sir, I’m in.”


“Good. You won’t be sorry.”

Opening the top drawer of the desk,

Chief Petty Officer Brian Walters removed a sheath of papers.

“We do the paperwork here,

then tomorrow you go to Civil Service downtown

for the physical exam and written test,

and if you pass ’em both,”

—Walters looked at the young man over his glasses—

“and I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t

you’re in the United States Coast Guard…

You do know the term of enlistment is four years?”


Four years away from his home.

Four years away from his family.

Four years!

But he could not stay here!

He could not stay in this close proximity to Susan

and not be allowed to see Susan,

to love Susan.

He could not !

“Four years…

Yes, Sir.”



Chief Petty Officer Brian Walters said.

“Name: last first;

first name;

then middle initial.”



To be continued

©March 21, 2012 / Mark M. Lichterman






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Reviewed by JMS Bell
Reviewed by Tom Hyland
MARK ... Many young love-lorned men in the past did similar things.

Others joined the Military, rather than going to Jail! Either way, it was 'Escapism' at
its finest ...
Reviewed by Laura Fall
A fantastic write my friend as always well done indeed Laura
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