Wednesday, March 30, 2011

So I need to write more poetry...

This is a poem I wrote a while back. It's not great but it is decent ... I need to get on with it and write more poems. Until then, bon appetit!

Old Neighbor

Tonight the peep frogs resonate loud.

When they stop the uncomfortable
           quiet rings — it does something
           to your head.
                     You must hold
                     your breath.

Wait your whole life for them to start again.
           Then; know dementia;
           that pulsing shriek —
           because in those few
           you forget to fear their
           disharmonic control;
           forget the Alzheimer’s
           Vera came to know.

Time was, when you were little you’d shut
           windows just to keep from the
           scream of them.
                      Now it does no
                      good. Their shrill seeps
                      through the sill.

One sun-filled afternoon, through the back
           field (you aimed to visit Lacey-
           Anne at the Straudenraus’ house)
           you traipsed by the short-grass
           covered bank of what once
           held a pond.

It bursts now of peep frogs. The cry
           makes you run by, afraid of
           being afraid, afraid of not
           knowing how to hear
           your own mind.

When you get to Vera’s, Lacey Anne
           must have already left …
           Grandmother Vera looks lonely,
           lost at her own oak table.
                      She cannot find the woman
                      who introduced you and Johnny
                      Cash, took you every Friday
                      to VFW Hall Ham & Beans 
                      with your best friend,
                      her granddaughter.

She has a granddaughter? Why, but
           she’s only twenty-five; her
            husband’s out tilling the field!
                       You fit her daughter’s name –
                       have sat in her lap, of this
                       she is sure—
                                  and so she drawls
                                  “Mar-lene?” around
                                  in her mouth, a
                                  plastic straw she tries
                                  to pull certainty through.

All you can do, sitting there in the
          quiet of the big orangey-brown
          couch you’ve sat in at
          least once a week
          your whole life,
                     all you can do is dread
                     that vacuous hole of peep frogs
                     waiting to swallow you alive.

Never again will you sit there; Vera moved
          to a home while you slouched
          through high school.
                     Now she might be buried out there,
                     in the red-clay dust of the pasture
                     where those peep frogs thunder.

Never have gotten away from the terror
           thick in May and June.
                      The tragedy hums in the hills.

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