TSM 168

You squinch your face as if I pulled your nose
like a knob opening the drawer of cities –

that sliding memory where you junked it all –
toy cabs honking, rubber-band commuters,

loose screws and nuts out on the avenues,
our noodle soup of take-out menus –

metropolis errata you'd whisked and slammed, 
then locked the door behind us.

Now walking along the harbor, the sea 
lies flat and grey, shorebirds motionless, 

even the sand quiet, the dog's scented crossword 
of seaweed and crabs, we hear the rain

moving towards us, the surface of the water 
starting to rattle like a box of cracker jacks

whistling through the air at Yankee stadium –
the bleachers, the barker, the crowds,

the crack of a bat, lightning,  memory,
buildings falling like a game of Jenga

from the back of the closet, apartments 
that slide out from under us, our plans 

tumbling down, the rain over the sea 
tumbling down, your forgiveness of me 

that we must go back now,
comes tumbling down

until again the bric-a-brac streets, again 
jumbled jars of hours and days, 

nickeled and dimed – can you hand me 
those pliers my love? The ones that pull teeth 

when the sirens wake us anon
at 3AM?

The Sunday Muse

19 thoughts on “TSM 168

  1. “Jumbled jars of hours and days”…I love that. I love the rain on the sea and the junk drawer of nuts, the crack of the bat at The Stadium, all of it. It can be like pulling teeth sometimes to get the slightest desired response from the one who could so easily give it.

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  2. So filled with the crazy moments that are life in the city….and the tragedy that is Surfside is never far out of mind.

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  3. This is a really great line in a poem of great lines … ‘loose screws and nuts out on the avenues’ .. if I were a young lassie, NYC would be MY city. Every square inch. Yankee Stadium, Broadway, Wall Street, the Garment District, the noise, hustle & bustle, AH the people! Your poem is a gift.

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  4. I think the first two lines are a complete poem on their own! Magic.
    But the rest are equally delectable, thanks to the way you fit them together like pieces of an inspired jig-saw. 🙂

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  5. For me this was a nice walk through. Waking up might have a problem, pulling teeth. Personal, I have a pair of long nose pliers bent soon after the hinge. For five kids I have offered to pull teeth, not one taker.
    ..

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  6. …and so I read this, and then again…and then again. And now I see a reflective piece on your year-plus retreat on the island and your looked-forward-to (impending?) return to the city. Perhaps not at all intended as you wrote…but what I saw as I read. Nicely written, by the way!

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    1. Yes, exactly. Personal narrative for sure, and hopefully at least somewhat accessible to a more general reader. As you probably suspect, I’m going to have to drag my wife by the feet onto the boat come Labor Day. Plus my own ambivalence — not “meh” ambivalence, but two strong valences: much to look forward to, yet much to give up in return. And thank you!!

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  7. This hits like a threnody after an apocalypse. Just heartbreaking; the empty beach and the dog’s discoveries that won’t last an afternoon and memory recast as toys…

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  8. Love this…”that sliding memory where you junked it all” That line is really striking. The whole poem is a glimpse into reality so many experience but can’t describe it with such poetic wow.

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  9. “that sliding memory where you junked it all –
    toy cabs honking, rubber-band commuters,

    loose screws and nuts out on the avenues,
    our noodle soup of take-out menus –

    metropolis errata you’d whisked and slammed,
    then locked the door behind us.”

    Each line better than the last. The desperation in this feels like life after a war.

    Liked by 1 person

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