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Belmont Avenue

26 Belmont

“May I help you?”
I don’t recognize the stranger addressing me
From the porch
Where I used to color with my cousins
Swing in my pajamas
Play with paper dolls.

I respond with an apology
For walking into the backyard
Where I used to play tag with my cousins
Catch summernight fireflies
Lay in the grass, spotting castles
In the clouds.

I tell her this is my
Used to be
My home.

“Would you like to come in?”
My heart pounds.  I decline,
Then quickly change my mind.
Yes.  Yes, please.

As I walk in, I’m overcome with emotion.
Much is the same.
Some is different.
Everything seems smaller -
Everything but the love.
The love looms large,
Reaching through the decades
To embrace,
Remind,
Confirm.

© copyright Marie Elena Good – 2013

LAST CHANCE TO CELEBRATE

Happy Birthday.
Holding “home” close one last time.
Candles are lit and wishes
for a healthy return burn bright.
But tonight you blow the candles
and we’ll handle life one day
at a time. Your gift you say
would be one more day to raise
a glass and cheer being here
for another year. Until you hear
Happy Birthday once more!

Walt

SHIFTING SANDS

Little one, your journey
has taken a turn and you
yearn for your course to
remain unchanged. But
by some deranged act of nature,
your stature has been diminished.
You’re finished with holding on
and your tragic song is a cry.
You’re losing your grip and any
slip of the tongue sends you
reeling and feeling less than
zero. And it appears I am no
longer your hero. I have few
answers that make sense to you.
Your sink hole is drawing you down
in a profound shift in your footing.
Usually the hard and strong one,
you’ve done little to show your flair.
You sit and stare blankly; angry
at your world and your mother and me.
All you see is a destructive path,
a road less traveled well. Tell me
what you need! Mr. Fix-it can’t
do his job if you don’t tell me
where it hurts. Stop your brashness
and please don’t trash the life you love.
Don’t panic and flail in the shifting sand.

Walt

1969

My voice changed.
That fact defined the year which brought me
to the precipice of adulthood.
Unsure of foot and teetering
on the weak knees of youthful thought.

All of thirteen, a bit green
and ignorant to a changing world.
I found myself transforming into
someone I barely knew, realizing
I would find myself soon enough

as long as I tuned in, turned on
and dropped out of the norms of a
distilled upbringing, wringing my hands
at authority and standing up to the “man”,
still yielding to my mother to take out the trash.

Short on cash and stature, and the nature
of the beast was the least of my concerns.
The females in my realm of thought
made funny things happen to me.
My hands shook, my stomach churned,

and I learned that they were the cause
of my voice fracturing every time they came near.
I had a fear of the war lasting forever,
and having to learn to speak Vietnamese
or Canadian, knowing I’d look bad in fatigues.

Why is it we could put men on the moon,
but couldn’t keep guys like John
and Martin and Bobby safe from hatred.
Isn’t anything sacred anymore? Did we even know the score?
But one thing always delivered the goods. Music.

Music did it for me. I know that now.
We were lighting fires for Morrison,
while Hendrix did fine all by himself.
Mick was gathering no moss, and the price
of freedom was very high, but worth every cent.

And if anyone would tell me that in a year the Beatles
would argue and break up over an avant-garde Ono,
I would tell them the were crazy. I stopped being lazy
in ’69, ever since I found this thing called “muse”,
and how expressing it, gave me and those around me

joy, power, peace; a good release in a lyrical sense
under the false pretense of ever really being
in love yet above all else, music and words lived in me
(but I was just too ignorant to get that clue).
Besides, my voice changed.

Walt

Presented at WE WRITE POEMS – Prompt #166 – What’s it like to be your age?

LAUGHING GERTY

Gerty

You were so damn obnoxious,
in your cage and uproarious.
You in your glorious, hideous
dress and babushka tied tightly,
you were rightly annoying.
I never knew what was so darn funny!
“Laff In The Dark” was your home,
and someone thought it would be
downright hilarious to plant you
near the entrance. You scared
the hell out of me. The parents
would drag us past the “Magic Carpet”
and games of chance just to glance
at your lacquered face, a trace of malice,
you were no Alice in Wonderland.
But, I would stand at a distance
and curse you. And that purse you held
never even matched your shoes!
Still, all these years later I have the blues.
My Crystal Beach is gone and it hasn’t
been funny for years. It brings me close to tears.
And forgive this confessional gaffe: I miss your “Laff”.

Walt

 

NOTE: The babushka was replaced by the hat, but she remains ingrained in memory!

UNITED

On the edge of reason, we watched and waited.

We hated being helpless, and I guess

we hated being the target of hate.

Many were functioning as they normally had,

but then every man, woman, mom and dad

had much to explain to minds that could not

comprehend. It had sent a strong message,

that we should be ever-vigilant and can’t

let down our guard. It is hard to preach trust

when the thrust of such extreme proportion

penetrates our collective spirit. They thought

they’d split it in two. It is true that we fight

amongst each other, like any “sister” and “brother”

but let another interfere and we’ll be here united

to fight it tooth and nail. We had stumbled, but did not fail.

May God continue to Bless America!

© – Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

EERILY SILENT, ACROSS THE LAKE

Since its inception three years ago, ACROSS THE LAKE, EERILY has been the home for poetic nurturing and witty banter for two wayward poets trying to find their muse. Many words and emotions have been bandied about, many joys and tragedies were shared and in the process, two total strangers have become great friends and poetic compatriots…and they still NEVER have met.

But things change. Situations dictate a re-prioritizing of time and talent. And it is sadly that, MARIE ELENA GOOD and I have decided to discontinue ACROSS THE LAKE, EERILY.
Unfortunately, there were too few hours in the day to accomodate all the projects we have under way. It is time to pursue other adventures.

The joint assembly at POETIC BLOOMINGS will remain intact. This was a bigger labor of love in our poetic minds because it included all of the friends, who like MARIE ELENA and I, have found great comfort and support in each others collective muse. Thus, it was the logical choice to be left untouched.

MARIE will continue to contribute her poetry throughout the blogisphere, advance her Children’s Literature writing and be in a front row seat to watch her little ball of sunshine, Sophie, illuminate the world.

I will also continue my postings at the various site I have adopted as “homes away from home” foisting my poetics and flash fiction on the suspecting public whenever I can. Music is always a great love as is the theater and my desire to complete my musical AND my screenplay (we all have screenplays!) can only benefit from this respite. Collections of poetry are in stages of assembly and my blogs THROUGH THE EYES OF A POET’S HEART and I AM SANTA CLAUS will be keeping me off of the highways. My association at FLASHY FICTION will also be unchanged. I only pray for the time to allow me to live to see it all through. So far, so Good. So, this is not goodbye by a long shot. It’s a “Until we get a chance…”

(However, I will be keeping this sight, renamed EERILY SILENT, ACROSS THE LAKE for the assembly of similar poems and stories in keeping with MARIE and my objective, the influence of this rather special neck of the woods in which we live. Who knows, maybe …)

So, for the time being, this will be the end of a great first step into the world of our own creation. Poetry lives on long after we’ve stopped writing. “Say Goodnight, Gracie!”

 

Walt

 

Goodnight, Gracie.

 

FADE TO BLACK

A scene from a movie screen,
cinemascope and technicolor,
surround sound and dolby
in an Imax theater. Larger
than life. The embraces look
bigger. The exchanges look
bigger. The problems look
bigger. Our hero solves the world
in an hour and forty-seven
ticks of the clock. Stock footage,
A kiss for luck and goodbye,
he lets out a regretful sigh,
and she starts to cry. Other
adventures await and it’s great
we had that time to spend.
But in the end, my horse plods off
into the sunset. A figure in
silhouette. Fade to black…

 

Walt

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT MARIE ELENA

A writer. A comrade. A poet.
A friend and confidant.
Always there with the words I need,
or the support I want.
Star-crossed rhymers, meeting at a time
where neither was sure that poetry would cure
all that ailed our aching hearts,
but finding a nugget of truth
in the gems we penned and shared one April.
A genuine thrill to see she was reading me,
and me she. You see, right out we had doubts
that our muses could fit the bill. And still
we have times where that self-doubt flourishes
and nourishes our retreat from our precious poetry.
But it was she that brought me into focus,
this blooming crocus in Spring’s early journey
into rhymed reason. The right season to bloom.
Soon, we discovered that our commonality lay
in the mass of murkiness that masquerades as
a Great Lake, eerie in it’s coincidence.
In every incident, our stories intertwined,
one mind writing two different points of view.
Between me and you, she saved me as a poet
and a person, pulling as I said, from the gates
of a hellacious place in my life. Battling
a wife, and disease and the loss of a friend so dear,
she was always “here”. With a worded smile,
a comforting haiku hand on my shoulder,
and help lifting all boulders from said same.
In a name, “the best friend I’ve never met”,
you can bet I have been blessed. As you can see,
what’s not to love about our Marie?

Walt

THE CALL

“Dad’s got cancer.”
Words as lifeless as I felt at that moment.
My sister, Daddy’s baby girl, her voice
shaken from its confidence.
And I in exile deteriorating in my own
self-absorbtion, choking on words so harsh.
And words so healing; a feeling of redemption
in my reply. Wiping an eye or two,
and through with my vitriol; back in control
of the emotions so frayed. Four months
were all that were afforded me. It awarded
me a chance to reconcile for the while he had.
Two Walts contrasted; reunited while Dad lasted.

 

Walt