Different Slants

Seeing the World from a New Angle

Wisconsin: Driving in the Dark…by Robert M. Katzman

Filed under: Bewilderment,Depression and Hope,Love and Romance,My Own Personal Hell,subtle erotica,Wisconsin stories — Bob at 11:39 am on Thursday, August 27, 2015

Robert M. Katzman’s Amazing Story: www.differentslants.com/?p=355

© August 27, 2015

Trapped in my three-hour commute

Wisconsin to Illinois

Illinois to Wisconsin

Over and over and over

Images spill out of my mind

Like coffee sloshing

Over the edge of a cup


Window open, wind racing by

Avoiding the striped road-kill in the North

Muscular trucks belching black smoke

Wreathing me, lulling me

Interstate fossil fuel perfume

I miss my damn exit

Every time

And the yellowed old images

Flicker by…


Wisconsin trips as a child

Wisconsin trips as a young Dad

Wisconsin trips as a Grandfather

“Pick one, please

From the endlessly variable

Memory Buffet

Avoid toxic thoughts, please

Whenever possible”


But how?


Summer camp 1963

Thirteen years old

Very aggressive girls

Eastern European Jewish girls

One grabs me and kisses me

Shocking me

She runs away

Stealing my first kiss

I stare at her back

The cool wind blowing

Her long black hair

Behind her


One night

The girl’s cabin attacks the boy’s cabin

Jesus Christ!

They run into our dark cabin

Rip off our covers and jump into our beds

Everyone squeals

I stare into the dark

Some unknown girl

Taking liberties with my

Frozen body

Parents pay for this?


I didn’t know nothin’ about girls

Even though,

I was cutting up 1963 Playboys

Selling the pictures in 7th grade

But that wasn’t about girls

That was commerce

Where I knew the

Clamoring demand

Exceeded my supply


My Dad said:

Never hit a girl!

A tough World War Two vet

His word was steel

And I never hit a girl

But he never told me

What I could do with girls


Didn’t know how to kiss

Didn’t know how to dance

Didn’t know about clothes

Didn’t know a damn thing about

“Small talk”

What the hell was “Small Talk?”

And sex?

Sex was the

Ultimate Mystery of the Universe


Uncool haircut

My dark brown hair hung over

My clueless dark brown eyes

My expression

One of bewilderment

I was no threat to girl-dom


Turns out

Some girls seek out

The unavailable boy

Who’s too shy to ask


Out for a date

Some women, too

Was I standing still

Unknowingly attracting

Only aggressive girls?


Seems that some girls

Like to tell a shy guy what to do


Customizing the petting

Being the knowing tutor

Tantalizingly and teasingly unwrapping

Mysteries of the Universe


This was not a bad thing


Suffered cruel sophisticated classmates

In my chic and elegant private school

Never knew how to respond

To the nasty sharp insults

The bored condescension

to the working-class boy

The uncountable cuts

I endured



Freshman: Couldn’t get a date


Sophomore: Couldn’t get a date


Older girl from South Carolina

Taught me something about Southern Ways

Early 1967

Junior: Couldn’t get a date to the Prom

Southern ways didn’t work in the North

Later 1967

Divine intervention


A petite and curvy brown-eyed

Jewish/French woman from Paris

Twenty-eight years old

Slowly, carefully

Decided to teach me

In a “hands-on” sorta way

Every damn thing that

She felt

That a South Side of Chicago boy

Oughta know about sex

And in French!


I’m driving home in the dark

On a quiet country road

Tired of the noise

Maybe just tired

And I pull off the road

Turn off the motor

Turn off the lights

Needing the blackness

And there is no blackness

Like a silent country road


Not wanting the memories

Remembering my pain

Of not knowing what to say

Remembering my frustration

With never being the clever one

The loneliness of shyness

Excluded by the Brahmins of

A very small society


Who would never ever dream

About whom the Universe


By some Cosmic Clock

Chooses to notice

To repair and redeem

The scarred soul of a hesitant teen

And eventually

Even everything out



The author can be hired to read his work by your group or organization.

Don’t worry, it won’t corrupt him. Too late for that.

Poetry and stories sound different when read by those who write them.




Comment by David Griesemer

August 28, 2015 @ 4:53 am

Sculptor Michelangelo said he doesn’t impose form on the marble. He releases the subject already inside. That’s how Bob writes. So, mental images spill like sloshing coffee. A driver is wreathed by truck exhaust. Kisses are stolen. A father’s word is steel. Blackness is needed. And shyness has loneliness – administered by Brahmins. All these connections were already there. Bob merely showed them to us. Of course, he’d prefer to be heard. But he writes regardless. Because these things need releasing.

Comment by Don Larson

September 8, 2015 @ 11:15 am


In September 1972 I moved from Chicago to a Wisconsin small farming town of about 200 people. I learned to like the small town country life.

When I married I brought my Chicago wife to this same small town. We lived our first five months together in a wooden cabin in the woods.

The peacefulness of the country is one to enjoy.

Your words remind me of that time in my life. My wife and I still say that was great time for us.

Warmest regards,


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