memorial for a brilliant woman

Sunday, March 04, 2012

The art of rewrite

Usually rewriting involves culling words- refining. Someone who has a good ear said more was needed in this case, so I rearranged and refitted some thoughts, details. See what you think.

Version one

Aunt Pearl and the one-way street

It was a nice day to go the doctor-
the only place she drove anymore,
there and church, and Weingarten’s.

Behind the wheel sixty years or more,
she called her cranky old Buick Mildred
after her hated, long dead mother-in-law.

"Nobody decent would drive a Ford"
she’d say but I never knew why.
To me, one ride was good as another.

but no car can help the driver too blind
to notice two-way streets changed
after a lifetime, new signs unreadable

without her glasses, left home deliberately,
her doc being a tall drink of cool water
she was sure had a secret crush on her.

It was closed coffin, had to be, of course,
dump trucks don’t leave pretty victims,
Momma said she wore blue eye shadow

under the lid, too-rouged cheeks, wig,
in a white linen suit she’d loved though
hardly ever wore because it wrinkled.

I remember her singing "This old house"
with Rosemary Clooney, pulling from
a long neck bottle of Lone Star beer,

Tyler was called the Rose Capitol-
there were dozens at her funeral,
mostly yellow, and orange tiger lilies.


Rewrite

Aunt Pearl and the one-way street

Behind the wheel sixty years or more,
she called her cranky old Buick Mildred
after her hated, long dead mother-in-law.

"Nobody decent would ever drive a Ford"
she’d say, leaving the reason dangling.
To a kid, one ride was good as another.

It was a delightful day to be on the road,
she only used the car for appointments,
that and to church, and Weingarten’s.

She was half-blind but eager to see
her new doc, him being an Elvis look-alike
she was sure had a secret crush on her.

What she didn’t know was the month prior
some city-hall hotshot brought in a consultant
who redirected many of the downtown streets.

Where she’d driven a lifetime was now one-way,
right turns she’d made half a century or more
turned directly into oncoming traffic, busses.

Without her glasses, left home deliberately
in a fit of vanity, she failed to see new signs-
the dump truck driver said she never saw him.

It was closed coffin, had to be, of course,
those kind of wrecks don’t leave pretty victims,
though Momma said she wore blue eye shadow

under the mahogany lid, rouged cheeks, wig,
dressed in a white linen suit she’d loved
though hardly ever wore because it wrinkled.

I remember her singing "This Old House"
with Rosemary Clooney, pulling from
a long neck bottle of Lone Star beer.

Tyler, Texas was called the Rose Capitol-
there were dozens of bouquets at her funeral,
mostly yellow, and a lot of orange tiger lilies.

3 comments:

Glenn Ingersoll said...

It was closed coffin, had to be, of course,
dump trucks don’t leave pretty victims,
Momma said she wore blue eye shadow

under the lid, too-rouged cheeks, wig,
in a white linen suit she’d loved though
hardly ever wore because it wrinkled.

It was a nice day to go the doctor-
the only place she drove anymore,
there and church, and Weingarten’s.

Behind the wheel sixty years or more,
she called her cranky old Buick Mildred
after her hated, long dead mother-in-law.

"Nobody decent would drive a Ford"
she’d say but I never knew why.
To me, one ride was good as another.

but no car can help the driver too blind
to notice two-way streets changed
after a lifetime, new signs unreadable

without her glasses, left home deliberately,
her doc being a tall drink of cool water
she was sure had a secret crush on her.

I remember her singing "This old house"
with Rosemary Clooney, pulling from
a long neck bottle of Lone Star beer,

Tyler was called the Rose Capitol-
there were dozens at her funeral,
mostly yellow, and orange tiger lilies.

Shann Palmer said...

sharp as always, glenn!

Glenn Ingersoll said...

I was going to leave a few thoughts, too, but the brand new blogger captcha system had me all confused so I bailed.

Anyway ... I haven't exposed work on my blog for rewrites recently, though I've done it several times. Even if nobody comments, the illusion of onlookers gives one perspective. Cold print ...