We all know my poetry skills hover around the "ponder my bellybutton" level, and my interest in poetry lasts as long as a limerick (longer, if it's a dirty ditty!) But I got the following poem from a friend of mine, and I was really touched by it. Lemme know what you think.
Behind that Grimace, or Anxious Smile
Some mosquito nights, crouching in the junipers
Smelling of gin near the old wooden porch, paint peeling,
I watch her – I watch her smiling at the Bloodhounds
And talking to the parrot in the low-lit room.
But only in cut shot glimpses when the
Strange cool breeze of a fat, kind August
Frees the unfinished calico curtain
From the fly speckled sill.
Behind that grimace, or anxious smile,
Inside her head is a desperate asylum
Where racing thoughts collide
Like twilight bugs
Splattering on a fast summer windshield.
To the tick-passing-tock of uninteresting confessions --
Of metronome years….
Maybe tomorrow she’ll burn down the house
With all its weary cheer --
With all its half-dead inspiration –
With all its dust and frayed enthusiasm,
Pale and sickly as the half-hearted hydrangeas
Fading back to white in the unweeded garden.
With its piano full of dead mice
And its silver dishes full of starlight mints
Gone sticky in their cellophane wrappers.
With the anonymous guilt and its
-- Unattached shame --
And the terrible hum of the restless IBM Selectric…
Grimy keys and liver spots and that busy little silver ball
Tapping and clicking – and spinning and
Tapping and clicking out mountains and
Mountains of alphabet –
The prolix futility of trying to say –
Trying to say…ineffable…emptiness –
Trying to say emptiness volcanoes overflowing with hot weightless lack….
And trying to say other mountains too –
Trying to say mountains too full --
Too full of rage and regret and the eternal tapping
And clicking of malaria wings;
Of the constant buzzing of bloodhungry swarms
Of secrets and lies -- and unanswered letters never sent.
Never sent to Santa Claus, Florida, and Elvis --
Never sent to any of these false Gods of youth.
And all the Unstrung Lovers starving in the attic
With their Auschwitz ribs and deaf cello eyes –
With their xylophone smiles and their posable limbs.
They haven’t seen her in so many packrat years…
She doesn’t want them – She doesn’t want them to:
“No, she’s not that pretty anymore,”
Or to wonder (comma) if she ever really was.