Weekly Write: “Trauma Wagon” by Jason Youngclaus

Trauma Wagon

The city council is voting on funding
To renovate the park off Visitation Pl. soon
A father will teach his son the crossover step back
Whether or not that cash comes in
A mother will walk with her daughter on the grass path
And remark on the beauty of a tree that’s been there
Since Before Joey Gallo was born
Regardless as well.
The equipment at the newly built batting cages
Will need to be intermittently fixed by a mechanic
Many, many times to ensure
That the sluggers of tomorrow get their swings in.
The mayor won’t have a say in that.
People will move in and out of rent stabilized apartments
No matter what is decided at that table.
An ever increasing number won’t need to bother
With how “rent stabilized” is defined;
Others livelihoods will depend on a few words in a statute.
The local community board will propose improvements, amendments
Respond to noise complaints
And attempt to litigate just about anything else you can imagine
For a long, long time to come.

But here today a rusty scratched cornea on 4 wheels
The deformed, inbred cousin of the prison wagon
Pulls up curbside in Red Hook, Brooklyn.
Out steps a skinny-fat white guy in a stained shirt
He stumbles off the top step
Lights a cigarette and nods at his partner
Who is about to cast another net into a broken home
The familiar Kafkaesque deed that pays his bills, he justifies inwardly.
“Lets do lunch at the Lobster Pound,”
He suggests to the other.
“I should have been a fisherman,”
The other replies.

The innocent are strapped in with an iron padlock
Which forms an incredulous X across their chests
Crossing them out of normality
Crossing them out of whatever stability they had left
Crossing them off the daily list of deliverables for
Of these two roadside bureaucrats
The trauma wagon only goes one of two places:
Group home or foster home.
Many benefactors in the latter category have entered the arena
For the tax write off
And they’re looking for their prize catch.
Sure there are some decent folk out there too but
Would you want your future coming down to
Such a subhuman, crass roll of the dice?

This was all necessary because a yuppie invader,
Organizing with her friends
On numerous occasions picked up a smartphone
Thinking she was doing the right thing —
Because their parents liked to do cocaine and frankly
Had gotten tired of doing it in the bathroom out of sight.
But really because they were noisy
And brought around unseemly characters.
A yuppie who could not tell you the first thing
About rent-stabilization laws.

There are no winners here
Except the yuppies, of course,
Who are now off to brunch to bemoan trivialities
In the company of nobodies.
“I’m proud of myself,” she boasts
As she sips from her third mimosa at 11:00 on a Sunday morning
Imagining those kids frolicking around a lily field at a picnic
And taking pictures with Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.


Jason Youngclaus graduated from College of the Holy Cross in 2005 with degrees in English and Philosophy. In 2006, he moved to Washington Heights, Manhattan to work as a political operative. He has stayed in NYC ever since, continuing work in this field — and forming the Brooklyn based indie rock outfit, Cuba in 2008. Follow him on Instagram @Jyc_music.

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