Quote For The Weekend (Poem Edition That May Last Until Next Weekend Due To Secret Project, Beautifying The Ponderosa & After Effects Of Polishing Off Box Of Birthday See’s Candy & Snickers Bar Cake—Which Created The Most Hyper Preschooler On The Planet)

Famous Marketplace, Chiang Mai

This poem won me a fellowship to the Abroad Writers’ Conferences. I debated  thoroughly utilizing the generous benefits of my fellowship and hightailing it to Thailand, especially as my dear, cool, ever-fascinating friend Chris Abani was a workshop leader and how fun would it have been to spend time with him studying poetry and exploring Chiang Mai—but I chickened out. I was 7 months pregnant and couldn’t fathom 36 hours of travel, a view other than that from my king size bed, and different food(s). It was a nice award, though. I still cherish it. Unfortunately I can’t get WordPress to format the text pleasantly. I’ve tried all the tricks. Sorry about that. This poem also appears in my chapbook, Nightmares With Moons, which I wish I could re-edit, hopefully because I’m a better poet now than I was when Moons was first published by Pudding House, which is still the best independent chapbook publisher on the planet (cue cymbals crashing).

Bright Spot Through Wires

I pointed out Griffith Observatory.

He said: through those wires?

I said: Yes. He nodded

as if he had no qualms

with my particular mangy view

of heterogeneous city. I think,

in fact, he was preoccupied,

having left prescription glasses

inside, high on my kitchen counter

with the rest of his emptied pockets—

metal-ish mannish items: clipped

bills, a pocket knife. Could he see

the bright dome of the observatory?

He saw the wires. On a clear day, I

pressed, you can see the Hollywood sign.

I wasn’t looking at him, not directly,

but caught his nod—the type of slow

solo nod one might give mortality.

I liked it. But I was worried: I invited

him here to my balcony of sky and scape

to watch the sun drop, this dusk confined

by haze like a sad sea creature netted,

hauled to a surface, forced

on display. One thought dug

into me like nails: you can’t see it.

You can’t see it. You can’t…

Later, after pan-fried tilapia and red

potatoes, he confessed he was a dolphin

in another life. And in yet another, a sea

turtle. I was astonished. He struck me

as a man of logic like narrow ladders,

simple-cousin equations applied to both office

and home (should he ever visit there), compass

brain clicking, green, chartable eyes. Perhaps

he was, in fact, a lunatic. I liked it. And I

had to know: How did you die?

1. ripped to tatters by sharks drunk on the blood of seals—

too close, reckless, too close.

2. a simple drift to the bottom of a fathom,

an acute sense of 100 years

following like a pleasant

fluttering

shroud.

I liked it. Slasher death. Gentle death.

I sipped my yellow wine, I laughed out loud

and at that moment the green eyes slipped

from mine

and I was lost.

Midnight, city light wriggly as live bait,

the kiss a mild struggle reeking of déjà vu

and off he went. This is what happened next:

On the balcony—nursing a burn, dis-

secting the kiss—I watched his headlights

coast and bob down the one-way street

I live on, a dusky rise named for canyon

echoes and echoing mayhem down there

(invite someone new into that). The distant

howl of a famished coyote became brakes

whining, then screaming. Reverberation

whumped the far canyon wall, then my

wall, a city slit of instant war. I closed

my eyes, tuned in: what happened.

Get The Hell Off Me. Then, nothing.

No sirens. No helicopter wielding

a surefire beam. I thought:

this is all new. You don’t know—

how could you when I ask questions

in the middle of a surefire kiss, but I

had a title I died for. Too close. So

reckless! Get off me…What

happened. Nothing. Except that I

died. I did. I

died.

He left in time

(green eyes slipping).

Oh, yes:

he also died a soldier’s death in WWII. Shot in the head.

He’s not saying it’s real. Not one of his lives,

lives. But he’s open: what can’t be proven might

be true.

I like it. How can I

not.

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About PB Rippey

Writer, wife, mother, fortunate.
This entry was posted in books, Poetry, Writing, Writing Progress and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Quote For The Weekend (Poem Edition That May Last Until Next Weekend Due To Secret Project, Beautifying The Ponderosa & After Effects Of Polishing Off Box Of Birthday See’s Candy & Snickers Bar Cake—Which Created The Most Hyper Preschooler On The Planet)

  1. Beth Hull says:

    I very much like it. How can I not.

Words do not escape you

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