Poetry No. 19 – Nikol Roubidoux

In The Gorge
By Nikol Roubidoux

Packed tent pole to tent pole,
Marijuana thick in the wind
The young and once young
Live the Woodstock life
For a weekend.

Tonight’s headliner: Tom Petty.
The outdoor amphitheater
Heavy with drink, drunks and smoke.
A variety of herb-laden clouds
Drift above The Gorge.

A hipster storm front meets a has-been haze,
Alcohol flows like floodwater
As playlists blare Rush, Pearl Jam, Nirvana;
A family reunion for relatives of rock.
We Gen-Xers are the new oldies.

Acting our age is an unspoken
Rule we break at will; we aren’t our parents.
Tip those Honey Huts,
Drink and throw dice on high volume.
Do we ever really grow up?

Frisbees soar over tents, plastic satellites.
Footballs fly into one-armed inebriates –
Not a drop spilled. Tents vibrate with sex.
We are but a step away from high school again.
When the gates open, will anyone wander in sober?

Streams miss their aim in the urinals,
Passersby walk a slow step, angled to earth,
Joints pass hands at random, bikini babes stretch
Long on camper roofs. We are teens again
Forty to fifty years after the fact.

Those still upright at twilight exodus
To the amphitheater, taking perch on the grassy slope.
The drunken masses rise to the guitar strum
We are young again for a good two hours of hits.
Tomorrow, a hot sun on the tent city will expose the scars of youth.



Nikol Roubidoux publishes fiction, non-fiction, and poetry in a variety of literary journals at least once a year as a personal goal. She teaches College Writing and First-Year Experience at Lewis-Clark State College in Idaho, where she is also the Registrar. In her spare time, she writes and rides bicycles.

Art by C. O’Connor.