Ya’ll I Swear: The Lost Art Of Eavesdropping

 

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Ya’ll I Swear: The Lost Art Of Eavesdropping

The girl in our tiny little library said she had no friends
(Picture the children’s section of Barnes and Noble
’bout the same size)
So in my defense
(Don’t pity the library for its size
Looks are deceiving)
Earshot and all that
The man on his cell phone was eighty or ninety or just old
Some folks can’t understand
Some of the folks around here
This part of the world has its own language
Like it washed up on the shore
Walked into the hearts, bless ’em,  of the people who came and never left
Who made it home
Still do
I swear I come home sometimes and ask my husband to translate
I swear he knows the language of the souls around here
‘Cause really he’s a better listen than I am
Beauty never sounded so lyrical, sticky sweet like pralines on Market Street
(Except really the sweet potato pies they sell at the bake sale for the church at the Shell Gas station are sweeter so that’s a better comparison
And the Cow Tales are sweeter than that)
Ya’ll I swear I stare with my ears when I hear Geechee
Gullah sounds like it drips off the tongue
(Like honey, ’cause nothing drips like that, but it fast drips
So honey sped up)
Breathless, like there are not breaths or periods or punctuation
And it just drop-drips off the lips, like a honey freight train
The Wiki people say its unethical
But then they show a painting by Henri Adolphe Laissement
Of the Cardinals eavesdropping in the Vatican
So I’m confused because
How can I know their stories if I don’t listen
(Plus when you are pumping gas you don’t have anywhere to go and we don’t have the tv on the pump like they do in Mt. Pleasant)
The librarian told me the girl was just joking
(She, the girl, didn’t speak Gullah or Geechee
She just talked boring like me)
‘Cause after she left and I was still picking out a book from the teeny weeny library
I said I was sad for her
She kind of put my in my place, she was the head librarian so she was in the know,
And I looked really gullible when I said if the lonely girl was still here she could do the 10,000 piece jigsaw with you
Which I am, gullible and an over-feeler
But the man at the BP station where I was pumping gas
You know the one who was just plain old
Well he wasn’t speaking Geechee real strong
So I heard him ask what anemia was to the person on the phone
And I wondered why he didn’t know and why he didn’t Google it
But then I worried about his data plan
And how sick he really was
And I swear I wanted to go tell him ’cause I knew
Sometimes the weight of the world
The truth and the fiction
They get all heavy and jumbly
And I swear ya’ll I want to plug my ears and sing Mary Had A Little Lamb
But I’d miss the music
And the stories
The good ones, the true ones
And I swear ya’ll I don’t know what is more unethical
Listening and caring or not listening and not caring or listening and not caring
I have to go back to the library to return my books
I hope the girl who said she didn’t have any friends
Is there again
‘Cause I want to be her friend
But I don’t want to do a 10,000 piece jigsaw puzzle
‘Cause I don’t like that kind of puzzle

 

 

 

 

 

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Memory Is A Lady

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Memory Is A Lady

She is a traitor
Rub the slender bottled neck
With the waist of a teenage girl
And pray she pops out like a genie
Powerful, potent, able to grant wishes
Instant and endless
In three’s
Memories

She is a hoarder
Holding on haughty and hard
To the ones you try desperately to find, to grasp
Was it one kiss or two
Nine months or three
Stingy and stubborn, relentless is she
White-knuckling scraps of time
Scenes from the movie reel of you
And of me
At her mercy
Mercifully begging for more
But she hoards
Memories

She is a temptress
Releasing parts, never wholes
Holding on greedily to finite detail
Showing fuzzy black and white reruns
When you crave HD, 3-D
Accurate truth
Memories whole, not halved
It is your life and you
Demand it back
From the shallow grave
Buried and hidden
Hungry you cry out
Longing for more
Memories

But she is protector and guard she must.

She is creative, witty and wise
She shades the blue teal that you thought grey
You swore it was azure, she insists it was slate
Erases and deletes
That year in New York you were swallowed up
In pain, by fear
Give her permission
She has taken it
Anyway
She decides what to include
And what to completely
Leave out
Then out of the blue
She shows you a scene
A day in the life
You’d dropped like a dime on the street

The timing is perfect
Like a fig picked from the tree
Ready to  savor with honey
And goat cheese
Like loaves and fishes are multiplied
So does she
Find the best days and parts
To amplify, embellish and increase
And release
Memory of you
And of me

She is a lady holding the keys
To the life, the story, the telling again and again

The story of me
Not exact, not perfectly remembered
But just
As she has determined
It should be
She is a lady
Gentle and kind
Not cruel

I must tell myself
Again and again
Lost in my own
Memories
Fading
And dim

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Joining Laura and Michelle

Jesus and The Barefooted Man

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Jesus and The Barefooted Man

In the sixties she sat on red-velvet and stared at dead mink eyes
Staring back at her while she listened to the sermon
Teased hair, hats and some white gloves, confetti sprinkled among the faithful
The South, the  Methodists,
The pearls, sprinkled on a few
Folks listening or planning lunch at the Country Club later
Prime rib or fried chicken, thousand island or blue cheese, sweet tea or sweet tea

And now she wonders about the man with no shoes

He told me the day he went to the Episcopal church without me
I cocked my head and tried to get a visual on the thought
We walked to church a few Sundays later, together down a tree- lined street dripping with moss
On more than a few, old oaks
Passed him, smiling big, he not us
You’re going the wrong way aren’t you?
Headed away from church
He not us
Yeah, going to teach Sunday school
Cheshire cat grin on the barefooted man

And that was the man with no shoes
Seen through the eyes of of the lady who wears the pearls, sometimes
And we sat and rocked and smacked some jaws and asked some questions
Later with folks on the porch
Because this is our sometime home
Who was that man in the barefeet
We asked

And there were opinions and there were things said
And it is still the South
And that is good not bad, but true
Really, we all have a story
And this was an old Episcopal church, after all

Suits and ties, after all

The more I thought
And wondered and took myself down to the deep soul places
I had to dream and cry out to myself
Come Lord Jesus and teach us
Now, how to love all the barefooted souls
Who  sit among the mink and pearls

Show us how to love like you
And smile like we are all barefoot
Walking in the wrong direction

Heck, I think every man Jesus touched
Back in the dusty sandal days was barefooted
Walking

I want to walk beside
And wash and love

All the feet
And know the name of the barefooted man

I loathe labels
But I do love a Cheshire cat grin on a barefooted- man running after Jesus
In the “wrong” direction.