August 14

comments 43
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oak

It’s Guynes Street, still.

The house has the same 
flat bricks as my
grandparent’s place,

painted filigree iron
to hold up the carport,
honeysuckle bushes, 

        and no front door.

Inside, they’ve kept
the old decor: 

        spinet piano, doilies
        on the couch, china
        in the sideboard. 

It’s all too fragile,
knowing what I know:

        the curtains too sheer,
        the panes too thin. 

On that morning they hit
the floor, having practiced before—

                If there is one rule
                in poetry it should be: 

                Write your own pain. 

This isn’t my home,
I am a temporary resident
and my family ties are
blessedly recent

but things are soaked
in history here,
you can’t take a step
without stepping in it,

even things as innocuous
as the crooked crook of an oak,
manicured lawns and driveways
that cut through, 

        Murder.            
        Hung juries, strange fruit—

 And what can I say? 

                   Time’s healing properties
                   are overrated, at least
                   in this state,

                   things come thirty
                   years too late,

                   if ever, and

                  there are some ugly, 
                  ugly trees here, and

                               it’s not the only place.

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43 Comments

  1. wholeblackebeverything says

    Awesome ! You`re talented .
    could you please find some time to take a look at my blog ? thanks 🙂

    Like

  2. So good. Catches the bittersweet of trying to reconcile loving an essentially good person who can believe bad things, having been raised in an environment that leaves them little choice unless they somehow are touched. I really relate to this piece strongly. Simple, lovely language, and poignant message. Don’t know if that’s what you’re saying to me, the message I respond to, and as a writer myself, I know that can happen. Thank you.

    Like

    • Isn’t it funny how the same words can say different things to different people? Glad you liked it!

      Like

      • It is funny. It was important to me to learn over time that once my poem leaves me and finds its way to others, they may make a meaning for themselves in a way I hadn’t imagined when I wrote it. Sometimes it’s wonderful to see that when people talk to you. Sometimes it’s really perplexing. And sometimes it’s just…Really? As you know, we nod and smile all the while : ) I do want to tell you how I love your poetry. I’ve read many on your site. Look forward to reading more. I suspect you have been published! Take care.

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      • I have not, actually… submission forms and cover letters give me hives, but working on it. 🙂 So glad to hear you are enjoying the poems, thank you for reading them!!

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  3. Amazing work 🙂 I loved the images this piece created… and the way it suggested that some wounds go too deep for time to heal it effectively 🙂 lovely!

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  4. I love the opening line but the rest seems scattered somehow, there is a spine but it bends this way and that way in a contorted fashion and never really gets to the heart of any matter in particular. >KB

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    • Thanks for the feedback! I think with horrific subjects, there’s no way to get at a main point, exactly, and getting at things sideways is most effective and the heart of poetry. It seems many people caught the subtext, but here is some background on the house that was on Guynes Street:

      http://www.everstribute.org/house_tour.php

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  5. Beg to disagree. Of course, readers respond differently to the same poem. And poems need tweaking many times. I understand your point. Workshopping poetry with other writers is important and useful. But I do find a very distinct heart of the matter within the poem.

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