At The Strip Mall

by Peter V. Dugan

They meet at night,
a hodgepodge
of young punks,
greasers & hipsters,
adolescents racing
to shed
their virginity,
hanging out
under the neon
lights on hot
summer nights.

Fast food,
rock & roll,
hot rods & loud bikes
image & emotion,
id & ego,
the tug of war
to belong
to break away,
a noxious alchemy
of teenage

Wary of the blue
of the Galahad
they chill out
in back, up
by the railroad
light up & blow
a joint,
smoke shaggy dog
swill cold beer,
pop a pill,
and chase it
with Wild Turkey.

Feisty wards
of the American Dream,
the exotic narcotic
of youth,
killing time
twilight & dawn,
childhood & adulthood,
from the unbearable heat
of being cool.

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About Peter V. Dugan

Peter V. Dugan's picture

Peter V. Dugan was born and raised on Long Island. He is a graduate of The New School in New York City. He has published four collections of poetry, Medusa’s Overbite, Members Only, A Cul-de-Sac Off Of Main Street and Getting IT@The Oswego Tea House. He is the Nassau County coordinator for The North Sea Poetry Scene and hosts readings at the Oceanside Library and Wyld Chyld Tattoo and Café on Long Island., Peter V. Dugan’s pieces have been published individually in recent years in Long Island Sounds Anthology, The Examination Anthology, Toward Forgiveness Anthology, The Bards Anthology, the magazines Aitia, Asbestos, Brownstone Poets, LI Quarterly, Perpetual Toxins, The Poet’s Art, Soul Fountain, The Five Town Forum, The Nassau Herald, the e-magazines Erato Poetry, Good Liar and Road Poet. He work has also been published in the Long Island PPA Literary Review and can be seen on and, Peter V. Dugan’s major influences have been William Carlos Williams, Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Frank O’Hara and Jack Kerouac.