Tag Archives: poetry

new poems

FRIEND

There is no crueler arena

than Childhood.

My attempt to help my friend

left me as far on the

outside as she was.

She lost control

of her bowels at school,

one of the greatest fears

of Childhood,

exposing

some weakness,

knowing the predators

at the edge of the herd

would pick us off.

I helped her out of the

great laughing crowd

in the schoolyard

and stayed with her in

the sickly green vastness

of the bathroom.

I stood outside the stall

where she cried,

passing wet paper towels

under the door.

Somewhere between

the dust and dirt

of recess

and the cold echoing sobs,

small, fierce vows

leaped the chasm between

her head and mine.

I lived afterward with

the horror of my secret,

would there ever be

anyone to sit with

me in the

cold green bathroom,

and risk

Eternity on the Outside?

======     =-=-=-

DRIVING

I checked the oil,

the air in almost-new tires.

My gas gauge pushed the F

and my windows sparkled.

The passenger seat held

an assortment of books on tape

and a notebook .

Backing down the drive I

breathed in the moist

air of dawn and

smiled at the wake-up

songs of cardinals.

I drove down the highway

that connects my house

to the house 100 miles away,

hoping, again, I will

find the person I lost

So long ago.

If I pack more carefully,

drive slower or faster

maybe I can find

that bend in the road

that takes me back.

When she still breathed

the same clammy air

at five in the morning

that I breathe now.

Breathing and talking and laughing

maybe if I time it just right,

I can reach her

before she’s gone

and ask her the questions

that propel me out the door,

and down the highway

over and over again.

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more poetry

THE READING

She hummed and sang in the car

Rising bars of melody

That warmed her throat,

And filled her diaphragm with breath.

She parked the car,

Still singing Amazing Grace,

But softly now, concentrating

On enunciation.

There were other cars in the lot,

Other performers,

Early for practice.

Inside, they walked around

The stage, papers in hand,

Speaking, singing quietly,

Rehearsing away the butterflies

And tremors.

As the hour neared, she searched

Each new face,

Each stranger settling into a chair,

Chatting, eager for entertainment.

She fretted over last minute changes,

Worried that her words

Would not fall from her mouth

In sequence.

Wondered if her poems

Were too dark,

Too metaphorical.

Were the images clear?

Would the audience

See and hear

The message she needed

So desperately to convey?

Then she stepped up,

Lights shone in her eyes,

Voices hushed,

For one long, frozen moment

She stood alone

In the silence.

She lifted her eyes

Saw beyond the light,

And spoke eloquently,

Projected and enunciated,

Seeing the world

She’d committed to paper

Laid out for strangers.

Afterward, warm praise

Made the fear a little smaller,

A little softer.

On the drive home

She sang Amazing Grace.

Carefully, carefully,

Enunciating.

ONE LAST TIME

Hold me in the dark,

Not talking.

Breathe against my hair.

When you’re asleep

I’ll go,

And take this memory.

Save it,

Hidden,

In a velvet place

Where only I can find it.

LITTLE WAYS

Those waking moments

In the darkness

Of the morning

Do you still reach for me?

When you’re walking in a crowd

Do you look, without seeing

For my hair?

When you unwrap

An ice cream sandwich

Do you want to share it,

Bite for bite?

Do you remember

The little ways

We loved each other?

Are they still small

Or have they grown

To fill the empty place

Where I used to be?

LONGING

There is a place in the bed

Where the blanket never wrinkles,

Or shifts.

It’s on the side where I don’t sleep,

Where the lamp

Doesn’t cast its glow

While I’m reading.

Even during the darkest

Hours of unconsciousness,

When my dreams are real,

My hands never push the

Pillow askew, or yank

The sheet from the corner.

When I wake in the morning

To crisp birdsong,

And sunlight,

bending over the windowsill,

I see that smooth,

Still place,

Where you slept,

And loved me.