Saturday At The Canal

I was hoping to be happy by seventeen.
School was a sharp check mark in the roll book,
An obnoxious tuba playing at noon because our team
Was going to win at night. The teachers were
Too close to dying to understand. The hallways
Stank of poor grades and unwashed hair. Thus,
A friend and I sat watching the water on Saturday,
Neither of us talking much, just warming ourselves
By hurling large rocks at the dusty ground
And feeling awful because San Francisco was a postcard
On a bedroom wall. We wanted to go there,
Hitchhike under the last migrating birds
And be with people who knew more than three chords
On a guitar. We didn't drink or smoke,
But our hair was shoulder length, wild when
The wind picked up and the shadows of
This loneliness gripped loose dirt. By bus or car,
By the sway of train over a long bridge,
We wanted to get out. The years froze
As we sat on the bank. Our eyes followed the water,
White-tipped but dark underneath, racing out of town.

by Gary Soto

Comments (5)

GpSonia and Camilo Palomo Family T
A computer reading this just ruins it. Hear you can here the poem in a touching context. https: //www.youtube.com/watch? v=uGeqdYTaZbs&feature=youtu.be
.....beautiful, sometimes one must take charge ★
Very nice poem. I love the way she uses punctuation. So beautiful.
I have only just recently heard this poem, quoted in the film of 'Sophie's Choice', and it was so utterly apt, read over the deathbed of Sophie and Nathan, which was the only marriage-bed those two tortured people could ever have. A tragic but beautiful moment in the film, and the poem was a wonderful elegy.