From A While Ago

January 15, 2008 at 5:27 am (Journaling, Memories, Poetry, Writing Exercises)


If my grandfather wrote poetry,
he would do readings in small coffee shops,
In Bellingham,
Near where the Harley shop is
About a block away

He would read from a little cheap notebook
One he picked up at a gas station
This side of the mountains
Or maybe the other side
The side with the gas station
That sold the earrings
Shaped like Alaska
That he bought for my grandma
Or almost did.
But didn’t, because she’s gone
Scattered, across the last frontier.

He would write about those earrings
And the weight they had in the palm of his hand
The weight of other earrings
the small bulge in his coat pocket
That weighed less than it deserved,
Those cheap earrings
He had found
Just for her

At a gas station
At a rest stop
On this side of the mountains
Or maybe that side
He can’t remember any more,
He would say
It was a long time ago,
He would say.
And the crowd would believe him
After seeing the truth written in his eyes

They would listen to his words
And see the truth of them stretched across the lines of his face, one hundred miles of truth for every wrinkle

And he would turn a page in his notebook
And read,

A time shift
From finding earrings to
Standing next to his bed and
At a lifetime of earrings sprawled across it
And trying to decide
Which ones had the most value
The most memories

But of course none did
It wasn’t about one pair
It was about all of them
It was about having a lifetime
To find them
A lifetime
To drive to this side of the mountains
Or maybe that side
To find them

A lifetime of weight
In his coat pocket,
He would say,
A lifetime of driving.

Reduced to
A pile of earrings on a bed

And one man
At a coffee shop
Reading from a cheap notebook
He picked up
At a cheap gas station
Smack between here and there
Stopping for a cup of coffee
With his granddaughter,
The one with pink hair
The one he doesn’t quite understand
But tries
Because his wife understood her,
He says
A coffee shop smack between
Where he’s been
And where he’ll go,
He says,
A break from a long drive,
The only company an old truck,
an empty seat next to him.
As he travels to the next rest stop

Driving to nowhere
Looking for a woman,
He says,
Always on the Last Frontier


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