Tuesday, September 19, 2017

For My Dead Classmates

You miss so much
by being dead.

The stirred up embers
of a recalcitrant argument,
Virtue and crime
in the same narrow bed.

You miss so much —
a space to find yourself
breathing in again,
a heart full of beehives
and inquisitions,
the sometimes friendly sky,
and a glance in the mirror
on a good hair day.

Nostalgia. Who owns that,
the dead or the living?

Perhaps you miss that
or maybe there’s no memory,
all of it just a juked up Polaroid.

Hey, there’s no history then,
or race, or belief, and lucky you,
no war! There is no truth
other than that of being dead.

A sureity.

You miss teacups, or beer,
tindered fires,
eccentricity,
the 2 a.m. dust-up
with your landlord
for having a man
in your apartment.
Are we living in the 1950s?!
you shouted, wielding
a Rubik’s Cube.
It’s all you had.
The first thing you picked up.

The first thing you remember
having. You miss that? Possessions.
Gone now. Some relegated
to antiquedom, others nothing more
than apple core and lint. As if your love
for a particular ballpoint pen
kept it alive, would make someone
else desire it.

Music and desire.
Throng and thrum in your ears
and chest, a throne of rhythms.
The Clash,
Bronski Beat,
Van Halen,
Hüsker Dü.
Some of us will hear
tinkly versions of our favorites
in the dining rooms of the retirement homes
where we find ourselves living. We
will look for your aged faces at our table,
expect you to flop down with your
lunch bag full of potato chips
and Farmer’s iced tea.

You miss so much.
Assertive heels.
Peach juice.
Long insomnia.
Garlic, onions,
an open stage
or a quiet corner.

Your own name spoken
by someone you loved.

Who loved you.

6 comments:

Susan said...

You are one of the most alive people I know.

Edwin Gould said...

Beautiful poem Jenny. I have not been to a reunion in some years and it doesn't matter. Your words all strike home.thank you.
Ed from nose to nose

Indigo Bunting said...

Jennius. I love this.

Indigo Bunting said...

I am back here today. This is not the first time I've read this. I had to come back to it. Wonderful.

Fireblossom said...

Damn, girl. You're good! My favorite parts were the beehive heart and looking for the person with the lunch bag.

I was directed here by a certain baseball geek like myself.

Off to see if there is more. I can't remember the spelling, but in French class we used to say, "Il sais fair autre chose?" Beats the shit out of "Where is the library?"

Jenny Hill said...

My goodness! What a delight to come here today and find these comments. I so appreciate them. Truly.