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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

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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!

WHERE OUR HEARTS BELONGED

Home.
It is where the heart is.
We had left her years ago
but our hearts remained; an empty shell

where the essence of us resides.
They can cover her in vinyl,
but in the final determination
the combination of sunny yellow

and a mellow burnt umber trimming.
had her brimming with love.
A two-family dwelling with
full cellar. A fellow could find sanctuary

with nary a care; there was always family there.
A room paneled and trimmed
(all on the carpenter’s whim)
Bunks and captain’s beds,

where we were born and bred.
It remains in my heart and head,
where my memories come.
I’ll always her call home.

© – Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

FEBRUARY 3, 1956 – 10:42 A.M.

The Sunday Whirl – Wordle #41

I was in no position to be born,
in the breech; feet first, a fresh “face”
coming to the fore on that frozen February morn.
Until then, my days on earth up to the day of my birth
were a placid float, suspended in muted serenity.
But, the anguish of my poor mother would serve
to provide shocks to propel me into action,
gaining traction in this field of my amniotic shield;
a permeable hideaway of liquidity.
But damn the masked man in white, he startles me;
a sharp slap sets my ass to flame and a tearful wail to my lips.

 

Walt

Written for THE SUNDAY WHIRL – Wordle #41

MY BROTHER’S EX-GIRLFRIEND’S COUSIN’S NEXT DOOR NEIGHBOR

The ends usually justify the means.
A circuitous route at best,
a tremendous life-long journey at least.

A feast for the eyes, I was surprised
that I was attracted and reacted as I had.
Suffice it to say, I was glad, but for a lad

who was as shy as the day was long,
it took a strong bit of self-prompting
to make her acquaintence.

I was a loner, rink-rat, hockey manager
managing to keep a cool exterior
when my interior was a bundle of nerves.

The gentle curves of her hips and behind
(which of course, I didn’t mind)
played little part in my false bravado,

as far as I know, she played me cooly
and it was duly noted
that she may have been devoted

to having me notice her from afar,
so I could get a closer look.
And speaking of looks,

she was petite, very sweet,
cocoa eyes and a smile that,
while it blared, flared from ear to ear

(did I mention her hips and rear?)
freckled nose and clothes that hugged her
as much as I dreamed to. It seemed

when she’d get the opportunity, she’d stare,
but I was too busy to notice beyond
her waist long auburn hair.

It was there that my heart fluttered.
I muttered some words that evoked a smile,
and while I choked back my heart

a funny thing happened.
It started to beat again, hard and strong,
long after that first glance. She was a first chance

at a love so aspired. I was wired and jittery,
but she just smiled. All of sweet sixteen,
and me nineteen and never thinking

I would be thinking of her this way.
And I do to this day, but in another way.
In memory of that first meeting

and this fleeting sense of fortune.
A neighbor of a cousin of a girlfriend of my brother.
She still orbits my planet. Her name was Janet.

 

Walt