Saturday, July 22, 2006

my first poem since my thesis

after Jack Ridl’s “Waking Up In A Cold Sweat”

The first thing you do is reach for the clock, push the glow button, check the time. Then, realizing you are half-naked, cold, and alone, you fumble around the bed grasping for pillows and that ratty white teddy bear turned gray with the half rubbed out nose and loose string mouth. And what about your mouth? Chapped and cracking along the bottom. Lips remember the last time you kissed him—quick and salty in the early airport. You imagine him sleeping now, not a thought in the world past his snores. Worn out from a long day of work. Or maybe, a day off. Spent hiking with someone else around a deserted lake. Unending conversation between fingers. And what about the two hour kayak? A bottle of wine, reading novels by the shore? It’s all too much, too much even for Darwin to create and evolve into some convoluted theory. You think maybe you dreamt it all, and that any minute you’ll wake up to daylight two years prior with stacks of poems left to write and sixteen phone calls to return. You remember after college, the last time you packed up to move home, boxes of books and a rough corner leaving a scratch above your right knee. The goodbye that never happened. Just a phone call to say, you know you can call me anytime; a brief and vice versa. Then you remember—the second bottle of wine, a folder full of email, the past two years of phone calls, a book on the passenger seat of his car, the state park where his dad took him fly fishing as a child, your first love poem, the poster of Picasso’s Old Guitarist, and you know, everything’s fine. On the other side of the bed, you catch his imprint in the mattress, roll over and curl your back against the empty space, breathe deeply and swear you can feel his arm wrap slowly around your waist.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Writing is good for you

So I haven't written a ton for quite some time now, but I stumbled across this the other day while I was wading through the endless files of drivel which I have stored on my laptop and was fairly impressed. In fact, at first I thought for sure that I hadn't written it, and I had to spend a good deal of time trying to recall when I had in fact generated this piece. Anyway, since I got sick of logging on and seeing that there was going to be a New Poet Laureate (surely that is old news now), I thought I would post it and let you guys read a little Willie Javin special. Anyway, enjoy...


She remembers a time when she was small enough to fit in the kitchen cupboards; scared enough to hide in the closet between her father’s brown loafers and black suit coats. He used to walk her to the yellow school bus and wave as she rode away, peering out the small window at the back, leaving tiny smudges from her oily pink nose. In the winter, the smudges from earlier in the week would still be frozen to the window, a blurry reminder that her father would still be there with a small piece of chocolate wrapped in a silver wrapper when she returned. As much as her morning toast smothered in deep red jam, or tying the frayed laces on her shoes, she came to rely on the gentle chill of glass against her face to begin her day. When he died (when she was ten), she pressed her face against the casket, her eyes just above the top as she peered in at the green handkerchief which rested in his pocket. It seemed so out of place, so alive and vibrant surrounded by his black suit coat. The image haunted her throughout the remainder of her childhood. She would have nightmares in which she would see her father’s face, waving back at her from behind a school bus, but then a soft green fabric would cover her entire field of vision. She would struggle madly to remove it, but it would just wrap itself tighter around her face until she would wake with a start, hug her knees and rock herself back to sleep under her faded pink blanket.