Come Sit Beside Me, Please

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Come Sit Beside Me, Please

We all need a call to wake up
To attend to right now, right here
With a quorum of the senses reporting for duty
To cast their vote, for slow

Not like we need food and shelter and all the things in Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs
But, like we need poets and psalmists and prophets and spring
And two thin slices of white bread, to be soft enough to hold a thumbprint soft
So that when thick cut bologna bound with red wrapper and Dukes mayonnaise conjoin to Be pressed forward on the roof of one’s mouth, it’ll stick, (serving its white bread pre-Destined purpose of being bookends for meat) later requiring manual unsticking
And requiring two Diet Cokes to wash down the chips that served as a side in lieu of fresh Fruit at the deli counter  at the Harris Teeter which serves Boar’s Head beef bologna and The best salt and vinegar chips anywhere served politely by the shy but friendly silver Haired lady with the hair net that she wears with pride because she cares to follow the Rules and she cares too

Like we need a young man on a plane to remind us that twenty two year old adventurers
Have not had time to grow old and cold and jaded like the sad stooped man in 19B
Who doesn’t remember what time zone he is in or what his anniversary is or was before She left him for someone who remembered every year with a Hallmark card and a night Out on the town in her church dress and hose

But rather like we need rust on tin to prove there was a time of new and green
And how we live for low tide to find the rare left-handed conch brought in by the Preceding high tide, deliverer of treasures needing a hand to carry them home

And like we need a toe headed toddler who pats the sofa
With his sausage fat fingers and a nose that needs Kleenex
A diaper that weighs heavy with the need for changing
A pat, pat, pat
Slow as a metronome slow on the far left setting
And says “Read me ‘Good Night Moon’ again”
And only you know,
But don’t care that it’s the 23rd time, since Christmas
As he adds, “come sit beside me, please”

And you do.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Backside

 

 

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The Backside

A hundred stories blew right by
Unseen by the naked eye, a hundred and one
If you count the one so wind-soaked, water-logged and beat down
There is nothing left to tell
Shreds of truth washed out to sea
Particles of memory swept up in the counter-current backside of the beast

A hundred years from now

Someone will dredge it up, tell it to a crowd of hungry men, women and children
Hovered on the edge of their seats to know about the day the wind raged
Again
History, a fan of repeating herself

At the hair salon
She said the waiting was the hardest part of all
Tell me your story
I’m beginning to try to listen again

Forgetting doesn’t help remembering
Warnings came from somewhere down the coast, farther south
Watch out for the backside,
The tail end
Every cliche, metaphor
You’ve heard them all
Listen up, for once, to talk of eyes and calm

While we wept for Haiti
I wept over Vascular Dementia, ALS and Cholera, hunger and disease
And Haiti some more
The Shirley May, The Mary Margaret and God’s Grace
They made it through, tethered to a wide and weary oak
Simple solutions mock me

Anticipating, we know too much of what we do not know
Wringing our hands over unknown outcomes
And then the shaming began
For the stayers and the ride-it-outers
Who know the nuances of wind and tide
But are certain of not one thing

The quiet dark of the blind preparation
Is a quiet we never knew

Run a bunch of models
Focus on the European One
Fine lines  wear the well-honed edge of a butcher’s knife
Lord have mercy plays on rewind and repeat
In sharp contrast
The Weather Channel, bless its heart
I thought I’d die if I heard one more warning of how bleak my future looked

When the wind blows
Echoes from my childhood
We are slowly prepared by  nursery rhymes
For what’s ahead

When the wind blew
At hurricane force
I sat on my backside

Resting up
No one named the raging storm in my mother’s brain
After one of the gospel writers

There is still a storm that’s raging
Though not at sea
For me
Waiting is the hardest part

 

 

And I Suppose

 

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And I Suppose

Dead-headed blood-red geraniums lay in a weary heap
Someone deemed them past their peak
Guilty as charged
I re-adhered them
Bloom by spent and weary bloom

In my imagination lit up with wild hope of on second thought
Second chances defied nature’s laws
For blood-red geraniums who’ve been sentenced to the gallows

I suppose I followed some fool’s
Unwritten rules
Instead of following my own
Protocols of beauty

For a time

And I suppose I am a first rate fool
For once practicing
Deceptive rules of beauty

Explicitly implicit
Many may be found on the compost heap
Beside the geraniums past their prime, clipped and deemed unworthy

One more chip

Shipwrecked ships

I am a fool
Following the broken to a watery grave
Compelled by the cryptic stories they beheld

And for building my own defense

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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