memorial for a brilliant woman

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Expedient exaggerations

birthday poem 2007

Ila Faye really did have seven husbands,
all her own, or maybe it was six or five.
Two of them in the hospital at once,
names always the same, so it must be
true. I was never a really cheerleader-
only consistently louder than everybody
except when I bombed scales on the tuba
for the seventh graders, I don’t know
if any of them signed up for band
unless they thought- I can do better,
while I whispered to the floor (me, too)
shamed in front of the cute new director.

Why I let a certain kind of person (man)
intimidate me remains a roadblock
to this day. Charlie’s influence drives
every relationship right off the berm
stalled mid-sentence, lost in the stars.
Some daddies need to be stood up to.
I still build walls when things change,
grateful for the few who skitter over,
wait for me to calm down, quit fretting,
get past myself. That’s my mantra,
or should be, instead of "Sher-ring"
the one picked "especially for me."

It figures that age brings contentment,
some relaxation, a certainty of what works,
what won’t, in the face of sagging skin,
bad vision, lousy memory and more,
as the weight of futility becomes beacon,
the unbearable chances for wonderful
catch the last train (for the coast).
I rock on, wedded to dated metaphors
sure it’s been going downhill a long time
before I looked around to find opportunity
came and went while I was drifting
and not even dawn can bring it all back.

1 comment:

T.S. said...

I like when a poem challenges me just short of giving up. I need to read this another eight times, at least.

Happy birthday again. Hope to catch you at Bottom Readers tonight.

All the best,

Tom