Stay Out Of The Gutter

This week the challenge for Trifecta is this:

1: a large North American gallinaceous bird (Meleagris gallopavo) that is domesticated in most parts of the world
2: failure, flop; especially : a theatrical production that has failed
3: three successive strikes in bowling
4: a stupid, foolish, or inept person

– See more at:

Owner’s son, my cousin,
landed a job in the back
of the bowling alley, fixing
machines when things got stuck.
Didn’t require much, boring.
I could get in free, though.

Haven’t been there in years.
Never got the hang of the stance,
the movement, and motions
that would send the ball
loudly gliding until hitting,
smashing, knocking down
all the neatly standing pins. 

Loved the plastic cup of beer.
Usually found myself feeding
quarters into machines in
the arcade room, Pac-Man.
Feeling tipsy, making my way
toward the jukebox, dance music,
and the crashing of cue balls, 
breaking the set, new game.

Could usually get my dollar’s worth
chasing little yellow dots, hiding
from ghost, and chomping fruit.
More than once, a good ol’ boy
lost a few bucks,  by thinking.
Either deciding I was drinking
too much to win, or I didn’t
look the part to run the table. 

Never got to smile or shout,
“Turkey!”, after three strikes
in a row, though I’d try.
Mostly, I was happy, content,
if my ball stayed out of the gutter,
and by luck, knocked down two, three
pins before the machine lifted 
remaining ones up, reset them.
Perfectly at the end of the lane,
taunting me because they stood. 

@ donetta sifford 8-29-2013

Written for: Trifecta


12 responses

  1. Wow. Thank you. I didn't know I had won until just now. Thank you so much for stopping by again. and letting me know. 🙂 Yay!

  2. Just wanted to stop by and congratulate you for your win this week. This is an excellent piece, and I'm glad to see it recognized as such. 🙂

  3. If you can't bowl a turkey, you might as well earn a couple bucks playing Pac Man 🙂

  4. This sounds like me, wanting to spend all my time in the arcade because I sucked so much at bowling. My parents were never happy with me for it haha

  5. This was so well done, we got to take a trip back into your earlier years with you!

  6. What a lovely response to the prompt. I really enjoyed the rhythm and pacing of this piece. Thanks for linking up.

  7. Oh, I remember the taunting pins too, and the way, when I bowled duck pins I'd accidentally throw the ball high into the air and then cringe when it hit the wood and made such a loud bang;) I also remember thinking I'd never figure out how to keep the ball out of the gutter-and I was right!

    This was an excellent piece of writing! I thoroughly enjoyed it!

  8. I love those last two lines – they're the perfect ending to this piece. Great job!

  9. Yes, those taunting pins. And the plastic cups of beer. I remember them tasting better than I can possibly imagine now!

  10. Those pins really are taunting when they stand at the end of the lane.

  11. This is great. Excellent job with the voice! The narrator comes off wistful yet apathetic. The piece flows so well and is so descriptive. Who knew the bowling alley could be inspire such beautiful poetry? 🙂 Well done!

  12. A very vivid memory! I liked the idea of a redneck or two being deprived of their cash.

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