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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 11: January 2022
Poem: 229 words
By Robert Eugene Rubino

Wallflowers of the World, Unite!

We Baby Boomer wallflowers 
having barely begun our body-blooming years 
mere months since first menstruation first erection 

must have looked like bug-eyed fungus 
our backs against the world against a wall 
of a nearly finished suburban basement 

as if in a Twilight Zone police lineup 
suspected of doing nothing (or next to nothing) 
too afraid to follow the new normal’s hormonal urges 

as our hipper cooler hotter braver better-complexioned peers 
slow-as-molasses slow-danced to Johnny Mathis songs 
before graduating to frisky French kissing 

on couches demoted from the plastic-coated living room upstairs  
where Greatest Generation parents consoled themselves 
by staring at their state-of-the-art color TV console 

flipping from Nixon-Kennedy speechifying 
to Jackie Gleason playing spousal abuse for laughs 
and smoke-and-mirrors ads sexualizing nicotine addiction. 

As aromas of perfume 
more like fresh-baked sugar-glazed peach pie 
wafted from newly breasted girls-becoming-women 

as aromas of cologne 
more like spilled tumblers of Christian Brothers brandy 
wafted from first-time shaved boys-becoming-men 

as one wallflower’s politely ruthless rejection 
of another’s painfully belated dance offer 
somehow certified all our freshly minted guilty innocence 

we wallflowers silently stared into our geeky grim here-and-now 
desperate for a time machine (or merely better timing) 
as the misty music lingered in the subterranean air. 

Robert Eugene Rubino
Issue 11, January 2022

was nominated for a creative nonfiction Pushcart Prize for “Spinning Shame Into Nostalgia” (Hippocampus, November 2016). He has published prose and poetry in various online and print literary journals, including The Esthetic Apostle, Raw Art Review, MacQueen’s Quinterly, The Write Launch, Cathexis Northwest, High Shelf Press, Gravitas, Forbidden Peak Press, and Haunted Waters Press. He’s old enough to remember the Cuban Missile Crisis and smart enough to solve the New York Times crossword puzzle on Mondays (other days not so much). He lives in Northern California.

More on the Web: By, About, and Beyond

Hollow Be Thy Name, a poem in Issue 12 of KYSO Flash (Summer 2019)

Owl House, a poem at Haunted Waters Press

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