Thursday, September 01, 2005

Writing Exercise 3: From Memory

Watching the news from New Orleans and Gulfport, I got that same sick, empty feeling that I had four years ago watching news from lower Manhattan. These places and these people will never be the same. One anchor said “our tsunami.” And I thought, why are the networks airing Days of Our Lives and As the World Turns when something like this is happening? In this real day of our life.

I’ve been to New Orleans and to be honest, I didn’t like it much. It was July and the air smelled thick and fetid. The parking valet at the hotel filched my favorite raincoat out of my car (I didn’t notice until I got on down the road). Two young guys stumbled out of a bar on Bourbon Street and vomited right in front of me – at 10:30 in the morning. It was so hot and humid, I put ice cubes down my shirt as I walked to a Payless on Canal to get replacement flip-flops. A man in a pizza joint grabbed my newspaper off my table and when I asked for it back, said, “Obviously, you-ah naht frum around heah.” I was alone on the trip and felt strangely vulnerable, even in daylight.

That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t go back. New Orleans makes you come back. It’s the city of Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams and Anne Rice (her huge house was painted a garish shade of purple when I saw it). Every street and streetcar has been written about by someone drawn to New Orleans by the potent voodoo of what someone else wrote about it.

Here’s how Charles Bukowski wrote about it in a poem called Young in New Orleans:
starving there, sitting around the bars,
and at night walking the
streets for hours,
the moonlight always seemed fake
to me, maybe it was,
and in the French Quarter I watched
the horses and buggies going by,
everybody sitting high in the open
carriages, the black driver, and in
back the man and the woman,
usually young and always white.
and I
was always white.
and hardly charmed by the
New Orleans was a
place to
I could piss away my life,
except for
the rats.
the rats in my small dark room
very much resented sharing it
with me.
they were large and fearless
and stared at me with eyes
that spoke
an unblinking
women were beyond me.
saw something
there was one waitress
a little older than
I, she rather smiled,
lingered when she
brought my
that was plenty for
me, that was
there was something
that city, though:
it didn't let me feel guilty
that I had no
feeling for the
things so many others
it let me alone.
sitting up in my bed
the lights out,
hearing the outside
lifting my cheap
bottle of wine,
letting the warmth of
the grape
as I heard the rats
moving about the
preferred them
being lost,
being crazy maybe
not so bad
if you can be
that way:
New Orleans gave
nobody ever called
my name.
no telephone,
no car,
no job,
no anything.
me and the
and my youth,
that time
I knew
even through the
it was
of something not to
but only

So here’s your exercise this week. Remember a place. Write about it Bukowski-style (but shorter maybe?). No sentiment. No frippery. “Don't play the violins,” as my poetry prof, Jack Myers, always said. It could be N’awlins, if you wish. Or anywhere that you experienced a sense of being outside yourself, a little afraid maybe – and afterward, you realized the place had changed you.

In the “comments” area, post your poems (I even hesitate to call them that for fear someone will get out a rhyming dictionary). Read over Chuck’s again. Notice the shape of it. Emulate that, if you dare. Copying styles of writers is a great way to strengthen your own skills. It's like, if you're used to playing Bach, you try a little bebop. Jack Myers had us do it with every assignment. So I shall copy the style of a great professor and do likewise.

Can’t wait to read what you write.

And do what you can, however you can, for the people of the Crescent City.


Blogger Eddo said...

Hey Elaine! Sorry I have been absent for so long. I am so glad you enabled comments. I love it.

Guangszhou, China

Everyone looked the same here,
no blacks, no whites, no fatties, no freaks.
Bodies pressed tightly into the train, people stacked on top of people
The buildings towering high into the night
Curious eyes watching my every move
The hum of the train
the smell of sweat and chinese food redolent in the air
Tired I stand clinging to the steel pole
back and forth
in and out
So tall I feel like a giant
by midgets.
Transported briskly
from one world
to another
time and place
that is nothing

10:45 AM  
Blogger maurinsky said...

(this is my third draft, and I would love some feedback/advice - I haven't written a poem in years)

The Club

Down the stairs to the dive
the pit
the bar
The Club
Cool and dark like a cave
Smell of beer and smoke
like dad
The men turn in their stools
and cheer with their brogues
"Ah, a round for Billy!"

Me and my sister play pretend
and War
and pool

I sing a rebel song
and collect quarters from men
who pinch my cheeks

We are seven and eight
we can pour a perfect pint

As the sun goes down
The Club fills up

The men are three deep at the bar
and we dodge lit cigarettes
as we push through the men,
playing tag
and hide and seek
until next week
when we come back to the bar,
the dive
the pit
The Club

11:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Permit me an anti-Bukowski rant: his violin plays the soggiest romanticism, the kind that yearly lures some Freshman to cut class, drink copiously, and talk about suffering for art. The Romantic Formula: take large amounts of drugs or alcohol (but not just any alcohol – better Mountain Red or absinthe) + a romantic city, not Omaha, but New Orleans, or Paris = romantic writer. Can be enhanced by adding miserable sex. As Elizabeth Hardwick pointed out, Branwell Bronte may have been the most talented in the family, but we'll never know because he hadn't the discipline of his sisters. Plus he drank himself to death. I suppose you could argue that Bukowski had the discipline to keep writing, but he doesn't acknowledge the post office sinecure that permitted him to do so.

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Mr. Bee said...

Two and one half days on the road.
Four kids, me and the wife and all our luggage in a Volkswagen Rabbit.
Wampus Cat, a Trailways Bus driver told me over the CB that I was one nervy dude; but would I get out of his way, he was going around me.
I don't know what was different this time other than the fact we were driving to California.
I'd been there before...took a plane several times.
Yet! When I crossed over the state line and knew I was in California, I began to feel that evil was all around me.
I was a new Christian...a Baby in Christ.
Was this my first experience with our enemy?
How many states had we traveled through?
I had lost count.
I know...I must have left the Bible Belt.
Everything looked so dry.
Why wouldn't it...this was the Mohave Desert after all?
Joshua trees everywhere I looked, on both sides of the road.
Thousand Palms the sign back there said. I don't see any Palms.
The blacktop road was a washboard. Up and down over the humps we went.
The kids loved the ride...wanted me to drive faster over them.
We were lucky to make it to Barstow.
I never let the accelerator pedal up once...a good thing. The engine would have died if I had. We coasted into a service station just off the main road.
I said a prayer of thanks before I got out of the car.
Broken down in a desert. What symbolism this was.
Wait till I get back home and share with all my new brothers and sisters.
The Golden State Highway.
What a laugh that name was.
The only thing golden about it was the sun reflecting off the scorched hilltops.
How could Gail and Mona have stayed here for over thirty years?
Sand was everywhere. It was already in the floor mats of the Rabbit.
Grains of sand!
More symbolism.
I wonder which one represents me?

12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Memoriam

A man painted silver
stands in line,
waiting for coffee and beignet.
Dripping sweat swallowed by metallic gleam
like crumbs by the tattered pigeons.
Hot drink and hotter food
on a sweltering hot day.
Then he will freeze, holding beads for tourists.
A living statue.

Is he still living?
The beignets are gone, and the pigeons.
The lines for food have changed.
No one is painted silver or gold
over their hot sweaty faces.

I will always remember New Orleans.
A grand, old dame
tired, hot, and sweaty,
but grand nonetheless.
Gilded, painted, and bawdy
kicking high as long as the music played.
Will it ever play again?


12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In Paris
in the Arab Quarter
the rats
to the size
of nutria.
A woman
is not all
it's cracked up
to be
all I feel
is Nausea.

2:02 PM  
Anonymous julesbgood said...

(I'm not sure my returns will come out right in this small space.)

Six Hours in Brindisi

big white teeth. he stood there
tall, yammering, in a near yell, to a group of co-eds,
his wisdom on traveling
for close to an hour.
I thought he was American;
he was Canadian
giving ugly Americans
a bad name. almost 100 people
into a small foyer
as the ferry docked.
I descended
to the dock there
in Brindisi, Italy.
and realized I had not changed money.
I had Greek.
I couldn’t find the way off the massive dock
and pier.
where was the town?
and rage
someone spoke, a small man,
smooth suit,
shiny black hair.
excuse me can I help you find something.
a way off, I said. he waved his arm
I started where he’d waved
he spoke again; I’m going the wrong way.
angry now, I
in the right direction.
he stopped me
but he was kind
his speech
accented and
and he asked where I’d been, where I was from,
my name.
he introduced himself
and shook my hand
and told me I should go have something to eat,
which made me smile.
Rome? the train wasn’t until
midnight, he knew.
he had two bus loads
of Albanian
he was in charge
of finding them lodgings, trains.
now I noticed
with people,
I thought about
his eyes
were gentle
and brown.
I relaxed
rage dissolved,
as he told me about a restaurant
and the train station
and everything
a loved one
would want me to know
to survive
six hours
in Brindisi.

2:04 PM  
Blogger echovillegirl said...

not really on the assignment, but on new orleans...there's been reports that its gone from simple looting of essential foods (which i think is perfectly okay -- can you fault someone for trying to feed themselves?) to the rape and beating of people, and at least 2 shootings at a cop and a nat. guard. also, there was a report that someone was firing at a helicopter (one from the feds) and so now all the hospitals are evacuating and and the supplies that are supposed to be reaching people aren't because its too dangerous. its crazy, and i think the fact that we can do all of this stuff for the tsunami victims and sending our troops to iraq and every other place bush wants to is redicules seeing that we cannot stop such savage-like behavior in a city as historic as new orleans. its a disgrace.

5:09 PM  
Blogger Kevin said...

We stand in rows
Proud navy blue and gold
And pride is an important word to the school
Because they will say so again and again.
An archaic building of drafty white stone
Filled with the methods and standards of discredited years
Alive and well today thank you, oh yes.
To go through youth without knowing your friends by their names
And where all teachers are Sir.
A horde of small boys trapped in a smaller can,
Rattled until something gives.
No space to move or think
The endless merry vicious laughter of the children, smiling children
Wounding, fighting, numbing.
Two children barely past twelve lunge at each other and realise
The fighting is real here. See them crabwise waltz in a fearful hug
Terrified to let the other go.
See the thickening walls of baying uniformed animals out for blood,
Out for novelty.
See the teachers, see the Sirs. Standing around. Placing bets.
The unending seasons of examination and stress
Self-worth defined by exams to no purpose
Till no one cares when true ones arrive.
Every day entirely the same
Shaping minds by repeated patterns learned by pain.
Cut a boy’s throat once with a plastic knife.
Couldn’t say.
Bit of a laugh.
He was being a git.
Never cared to think far enough ahead.
Slightly wounded he didn’t die
But nothing I did helped that
And nobody blinked an eye.
But school is but part of the world, you say.
Oh yes, it’s true.
See them carry it home with them,
The endless merry vicious laughter of the children, smiling children
Till it’s the only world they know.
The walls behind which empathy is foreign and people kept at bay
Are not ivy covered wind-worn stone
But forged lovingly behind these so-young eyes
And will take so long to fade.
Institutional Boys.

- The Unshaven.

6:08 PM  
Blogger War Bride said...

I just completed a similar assignment in my writing class, so I will post it here:


For all of us, life revolved around the river.

New Year's Eve fireworks,
The summer festivals: Italian, Irish, African-American, Puerto Rican,
The swing bands on Sunday nights at the gazebo,
Columbus Day for which we had a monument to honor,

The restaurant, the skateboarders, the theatre, the fishermen, the potheads, the joggers,
the young lovers, the bar fiends, and the auctioneer.

In a town of two square miles, the only place to go was to the river.
A certain lack of unity brought everyone together.

8:50 PM  
Anonymous Hillabeans said...

This may not follow the rules whatsoever, but I wrote my own short stream-of-consciousness obituary for New Orleans -

It's as sincere as I can get. I seriously had plans on interning in New Orleans as of this coming summer. :-/

10:11 PM  
Blogger alg said...

I came
from a place,
you left
if you could.
An army town.
There were
camp followers.
There were
used care dealers.
There were
pawn shops.
There were,
short haircuts,
if you were
a soilder.
If you weren't
you had
long hair.
There was nothing
to do,
or see.
We drove around
the town,
the base,
the lake,
and smoked
and played
our music
and talked
about leaving
I was afraid
I would never
I did.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous quirogam said...

The silence
is unnerving me.

I walk.

It's dark,
the air is still,
watching my back.

The silence pounds on me.

This black man,
his black clothes,
on the black street,
late at night,
sleeping dead.

I try
not to step on him,
and I flee.

The silence,
nothing alive.

Those lamps,
lighting the street
for nobody.

venting from the ground,
in complete

I wish
some noise,
but I tiptoe.

I don't want to hear my steps,
I sure do not want
to be the one
who breaks
the silence.

8:27 AM  
Anonymous shorty1kanobi said...

I hope this keeps my returns!

The lights are dimmed, all but the spotlight shining directly
on me now,
a room full of people – nine,
Monitors beeping, nurses scrambling
They open drawers and cabinets
asking me the same questions over and over and over
If they mattered any less I might get angry
might tell them last time I didn’t say “oh God please help me”
so yes, maybe this contraction is worse.
My husband holds my hand and I feel it but can’t touch him back
“Time to push” someone says but my body is already
doing it
it knows how
and suddenly
They tell me to push and then not push,
they're counting and I can’t hear it
I read their lips moving, all together now.
My vision changes
Gone are the nurses, the machinery, the hard bed and worthless pillows
It’s me
my husband
the doula
the doctor
and the clock on the wall behind them all hits 2:00
we’ve passed the time I was born
it’s someone else’s turn.
To the left I see another nurse,
Later I find out she’s there for one reason
the baby
I read her lips, praying for this child
She prays for all the babies.
Suddenly I hear again
and they hold a mirror so I can see
because I don’t believe it
about the hair
And then done.
2:35 pm.
It’s a girl.

9:10 AM  
Blogger Eddo said...

Maurinsky, I think yours was my favorite.

9:48 AM  
Blogger Snow Mint said...

purple hair, no sense of direction
waiting for a bus that rarely
on time
the streets are empty
but the cars are full
of rich people.
wind bites my skin and snow, my clothes
a frozen wasteland of buildings and
people hiding from their wealth
or with it
using cookie cutter cars and cookie cutter clothes.
i am the resentful bundle in the cold
shivering, stomping, staring down the road
in a city, not large
a university town
where crime's face, has many faces
who don't drive fancy cars
perhaps they could.
the city made me feel small and lame
the bars endlessly propositioned me
or my friends.
drunken debacle leading to a loss of purpose
a bend in the road
not to a home but rather
a shadow
like home but greyer, lacking love or truth
just a melange of people, transient and drunk
drunk transients
the tree city
in winter.
leafless, lifeless and lacking
a decent transport system
the best thing in this city is winter
and maybe
the gyros

10:14 AM  
Anonymous ita said...

this is the place my mind goes back to:
I have travelled a long night
on a bus
up and down mountains
to get here.
I've stepped out to sunlight
on a plaza
like every other plaza
in a small town
in this corner
of the world:
trees dangle,
random flowers,
a church,
cement seats,
warm sunshine,
old christmas lights,
ice cream vendors,
a quiet buzzing in the air.
This town is music
waiting to happen.
In the next three days
I will fall in
and out
of love
I will know bliss
I will dance
I will be moved
changed ,
I will have tasted
& music:

This little town has sprung to life with our coming.
I leave it asleep.
Ginebra too dozes off once we're gone.

12:06 PM  
Anonymous lazy1 said...

Hot and humid.
Soft click of windows closing, the hum of the air condition.
Cool air on my body.
Your smell.
A big painting with dolphins.
Cool soft sheets.
Your softness.

3:15 PM  
Blogger still life said...

it was in the news
the homeless man
from tompkin square park
who squatted
at the dancer's apartment.
he made soup
from her body,
behind the metal door
on 9th street
avenue c
and fed it
to the hungry
right down the street
where i slept.
on the lower
in new york city
there was that
of seeediness
to me.
it went beyond
crack pipes,
24 hour bodegas
that i
against better judgement,
in between parked cars
used from
the night before
heroin addicts
nodding out
taking control
of sidewalks.
i tested
by walking
as close
as i could
to the
9th street door

7:39 PM  
Anonymous seanthemonkeyman said...

(forgive me, I'm a sentimentalist after all that's happened in New Orleans)

We hit Bourbon Street after midnight
Two guys on the prowl for neon lights
And powerful, powerful concoctions
We imbibe
Drinks named after a weapon
The girls at the bar next to us carry on

Francisco and I stumble further down the street
Quiet and dark now
Well after the witching hour
Late, ever so late
The leaves of the banana trees are blowing
Against the walls of an old pirate's den

We drink two, and then four
Illuminated by candlelight
Talking about tomorrow and friends who couldn't make it

The bartender
An off-duty cop
Tells us that the legends aren't true
Heaven forbid!
No pirates were here says he
But part of me still believes
Brigands and buccaneers once plotted in this haunted place
And carried out dark deeds

Dusk turns til dawn
We stumble back down Rue Bourbon
My lover calls
Wanting me to return
And I fall into a fitful sleep

My stomach is churning
The sun is full in the sky
No elixir or pill will cure it
I heave and moan for hours

My head gets buried
An avalanche of pillows in my employ
Trying, trying to strangle out the light and noise
A clatter arises from the courtyard
And a knock comes from the door

The cleaning lady
Just here to straighten
I tell her to come back
No problem she says
And then glances at the courtyard downstairs
Getting ready for a wedding she says
And then shuffles off

Stomach still in knots
I hover over Francisco's toilet
Hoping, hoping that whatever's left will be spewed

We make our way back to my hotel
Lobby flowing with people
I stand in the courtyard in the sultry heat
That's finally broken by a vision

A princess in white
Straight out of a fairy tale
Eyes as blue as the Caribbean
And a smile as big as the world

I look in her eyes
Say vows before God and man
Slip on the rings
And we say I do

I kiss her luscious lips
The crowd goes wild
Everyone dances under a full French Quarter moon

We're pelted by candies
Take refuge in a carriage
The steeds start their march
We disappear into the night
And into the future

8:57 PM  
Blogger MNTurtle said...

a cabin in the woods
what a get-away
How perfect. How quaint,
how remote

Always work to do
Weeding, cooking
Washing dishes - no space for a dishwasher?

Look at all the nature - bats
chipmunks, red squirrels,
Hummingbirds and dragonflies
That one mosquito that hides until after dark
all lights out
And it hovers by my ear
I sleep under the sheets to escape
That whine
That supernaturally loud whine

This is the summer I decide to learn about Hitler
The library in town has many books
Many old books
Not a lot of fiction
I'm thirteen, I know about pain
I think

Sunday mornings are Dad's mornings to make breakfast
He is the master of the fruit pancake
Apple, Blueberry

We play cards around the table
A family
how novel

Waiting on the dock
in the dark
Sleeping bags all around
A flashlight to get us back up the path
Waiting, watching
for the first
Shooting star

The drive back to the city is entertaining
Dr. Demento on the radio
We know many songs
and sing along
Star Trekking Across the Universe

8:23 AM  
Anonymous The Procrastinator said...

The rusted screen door screams
Its warning
And already I can smell the latest cigarette.

The narrowkitchen is the main room and
She sits
As always
At the yellow formica table
that might have been new once.

Beside a Pepsi can is
A green glass ashtray
filled with the day’s work
And the black cat clock’s tail swings
Back and forth
Back and forth
While its unblinking eyes do the same
Counting the slow seconds
With a wildly inappropriate

5:15 PM  
Blogger kitty said...

Poetry isn’t me. However, here’s my poem about a place. It’s not Bukowski-style, but it is a poem and it’s pithy.

Dead End

Too easy to access,
a challenge to leave;
I’ll be here for a while.
‘Til I admit
I’m obstinate,
I’m in the State of Denial.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Yvette said...

The Observatory

They say they took pictures
For the Apollo missions here
Of those powdered grey crags
Where to make a careless footprint
Will speak for all eternity.

The metal sides are jarring
And cold to the touch
But in this world of darkness
You can't avoid the walls
They're your seeing-eye dog.

And while you quickly skirt
Around the rounded sides
There's a monocle in the middle
Ignoring your every move
Chosing to stare above above.

You're thinking about the now
But the 'scope is in the past
It's seeing Things Far Away
And knows of faraway lands
You'll never visit yourself.

Yet somehow, amidst the shadows,
You see beyond, into the light.
And while searching for an answer
You turn around and find yourself.
You were there all along.

9:54 PM  
Anonymous zuleme said...

This is probably the closest I can get. I always feel outside myself and dislocated and a little scared when I revisit my old home town. I feel like I'm seeing my life go by like a movie. Once I was young there,now I'm old here, how strange. Like the hourglass in the Wizard or Oz.

how did we manage
seven of us
one bathroom,
my father, a plumber,
never finished the second.
a kitchen you coudln’t swing a cat in
you had to
squeeze by the piano to sit at the dining room table
it was my piano
Grandma gave it ro me
after I asked nicely
dad hauling it over
with friends in the back of a truck.

I put thumbtacks on the hammers
played honky tonk
Beatles songs, Trini Lopez
Charlie on the MTA
made up my own stuff
still doing that.

The house is so small.
Traffic roars by it now
Not like when we were kids
you could almost play in the street
under the elm trees.
Gone now.

We were playing across the street
in the church parking lot
my puppy Abby sees me and runs
happy puppy ears
car comes

fifity years later
it still hurts

3:58 PM  
Anonymous misslynn said...

a spur-of-the-moment writing from an occasional reader. :)

enchanted, I stared
at the glare of neon bar signs and margarita menus
dotting the centuries-old street
wrought-iron and brick among the
raucous, rowdy and inebriated.

a yankee by heart, yet I am
pulled in
by beignets, po'boys and jazz clubs;
cafe au lait and canals;
creole and streetcars.
a part of my heart will stay.

it doesn't matter if you
believe in Jesus or voodoo,
the saints or the spirits.

in the warm October air,
I was infected with the magic
of a place all its own.
amid thumping bass of clubs and warm buzz of alcohol,
a quiet spirit crept in.

New Orleans haunts me
to this day.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Talley said...

It's not Bukowski. But I was only five.

point lookout and I was five

Wandering the dirty streets
before breakfast,
before the late night drunks
thought to struggle with bright morning light.
I waited and ate cherries from there Manhattans
as long as I could, but I finally fell asleep
on the floor
behind the couch.

So in the morning it was easy to escape watchful eyes.
In my tattered bathing suit I closed the peeling door
staring at what used to be
bright blue paint,
easing it closed avoiding the creak's scream.

I was a lone beachcomber
skirting the the rage of the surf
seaweed wrapped around my ankles,
dead and dying horseshoe crabs
tumbling onto the grey sand.

Shells, a broken bracelet, a coin or two.
The treasure of a shirt,
a polo of grey, yellow, white and red stripes.
I tugged on it,
willing the sand to release it.
What are you doing here?
A giant with no shirt arose from behind the dune.
A beachsleeper.

I stood, grasping the shirt tightly,
feeling the beach grass slash my legs.
I'm looking for things.
I took a step back from his grin.
I found the shirt first he said.
Boldly I insisted It's mine. I got it first.
Pretending to be brave,
stepping on a broken shell
struggling to be tall, to not cry.

He laughed.
Take it. Wear it.
It will keep the sun off of you.

Why are you here? I said,
as curious as I was frightened.
I sleep here.
I sleep in a different place every day.

My stomach hurt too much so I ran to the ocean,
through the foam
into the surf with my shirt.
We bathed together and I put it on
while we were under the surface of the sea.

I left the beach then, barefooted on the rocky road,
the sun too hot and the houses all different
than they were when I last passed them.
Back to where I stayed,
I showered outside in the
frigid water, hiding behind the peeling fence
where I hung the spoils of battle.

12:20 AM  
Anonymous stabledoor said...


A pink house
on a forgotten street descending
from Howell Mill
between the water works and
But it wasn't
the Tech dorms
and predictable.
We paid rent
the roaches were our landlords.
The trains ran twice every evening
on the tracks across the street.
Noisy, earth-pounding,
echoing behind warehouses
as they left the switchyard, grinding
past the trees'
oily branches
and pale shivering leaves.
Bubba flunked the bar
and Kenny went to Yale.
Keith got married
and Jim roamed
under Africa's sheltering sky.
the crazy truck driver
Irene moved.
And Maude staggered
up the hill in her faded
pink nightgown,
like a wind-up doll
thick as a tank
machine-gun curses
about "them AIDS!"
glaring daggers
at all passersby.

10:10 AM  
Blogger ms. jared said...

the lunchroom

even in august
with the kansas humidity
bearing down
the cafeteria still
gave off a chill

walking in alone
with my too short pants,
hand-me-down blouse,
and fresh new haircut
that made me look like a boy

i felt foolish and conspicuous
as i white knuckled my tray
and scanned the room
for a benign seat
in which to plant myself

but it's impossible
for 'the new girl'
to go unnoticed
on the first day of school

looking around
at all the stony faces
eager to ignore me
lest i mistake
their curiosity
for friendship

and the knot of fear
replacing the hunger pangs
in my stomach
as i emptied my tray
into the garbage
and walked back out
to the silent playground

8:30 PM  
Anonymous Frances said...

plaster cherubs
the mosquito carnage
inspecting the red
on my back
i see them
looking gay
down from their
on the wall
beside the
i climb into bed
and close my eyes
for the room
the blueish
the cherubs

6:14 AM  
Anonymous milasko said...

It wasn't much of a creek,
water barely making it round the bend.
In better days it had carved a low cliff for a bank.
From up there
Me and Leanne used to throw handfuls of pebbles in it, all at once.
We called it music.

8:16 PM  
Blogger BlondebutBright said...

after a long wait
the journey
to the seat
bags hoisted onto
weary shoulders
shuffled steps
clearing throats
designated resting spots
passengers recline
a sense of brooding
will the adjacent seat
or will
be filled with another human, another soul
the plane seat
traveling somewhere new
somewhere old
for work, for play
to grieve
its textile odor hints of

7:15 AM  
Anonymous eleanor said...

it was late
and it felt like an early autumn evening in indiana
but here in scotland
august is like a midwestern fall
but i'm getting off of the subject
which is the
volcano covered in
sharp rocks and dry grass
i am at the top and i am
looking at the other hills and
wondering if they were volcanos when
they were younger, too
and then i start thinking about
the sea and what happened to
seals after eruptions
but i'm getting lost again
and everyone else is far behind
even the frenchmen whose picture
i snapped
i sit in the grass, by the edge
next to a discarded beer can
and the sun is setting
and it is like a dollar-storeromance novel
except you are not
except you are not here and you are
not here
and that
is the only thing that is
wrong with this moment
where i am
sitting in the sunset
in the august autumn and
that i know exactly who i am
for once.

9:21 PM  
Anonymous Smartest Tractor said...

Glass, everywhere, that’s right
Is this a parking lot or one-stop
SMASH and grab
Is this Glasgow,
Or glass go?

Where is the security of
The usual, ever watching, ever protecting,
The all seeing eyes are not here.

Two nights of worry.
Will the car make it?
Make it?

Where are the all seeing eyes?

10:18 AM  
Anonymous alni said...

La Isla Bonita

Stepping down
from smoke-fumed airplane
from autumn
to be wrapped
in warmth
I arrived
to look at
the oddest little lizard
on the hot stones
and the misty air
they said
was sands from
I was in a dreamplace
up in the mountains
immersed in a cloud
and watching
billions of stars
unobscured, the universe
and later,
on the seaside again
a warm magical night
that does not
where I live
what is the feeling
here in the
middle of myths
I am in

3:23 PM  
Blogger Willow said...

The sidewalk
has scattered leaves
and roaming cats,
but the only
to break the silence,
is mine.
Designs on car windows
the arrival of frost.
A debut
that brings with it
a sharp note to the morning air;
the crack of leaves

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