Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post card

This is a poem I wrote a few weeks ago. Still thinking about it and not quite sure what to make of it/if I like it/if it works. It was in response to a poem Andy had written about an existential walk across a parking lot with someone you love.


The first postcard came last week.
Know this: I love you
Was all it said.
In oddly elegant script.
I reread the address sure of an error.
But no, there was my name.
Unable to simply recycle the sentiment
I tacked it to my bulletin board.

Two days later
lonely and three quarters drunk.
my legs twitched to the rhythms of
a crowded room.
The walls were buzzing and muffled
with evaporating expectations
as bodies shuffled, waiting,
glances glancing of armored imaginations
strangers hating to make indirect eye contact.
My vision glazed I swept carelessly
from corner to corner.
when I was suddenly frozen by her smile.

Confused I smiled back
and the intensity of her grin increased
wide, friendly and inviting
her face expanding like
a time lapsed flower inclining towards sunlight
a lopsided and stunning grin
that hit my heart just left of adolescence.

She smiled like she knew me. Like she loved me.

I looked away
Suddenly swept away with friends and motion
filling the inane quotient
of half finished conversations.
And when I looked back she was gone.
My chest heaving, slightly panicked
like a child who’s hand has slipped from a firm grasp
I scanned the faces for hers
and finally silent saw her disappear out the front door of the bar
a red winter hat lost in a sea of bobbing bodies.

That night I re-read the post card
thinking hard, reconstructing lost minutes
hopelessly grasping at the cold
thin straws of memory.
And behind rational thoughts in the secret room
where your heart makes admissions
without consultation
through the foggy breath of and what if calculations
I began to wish that
this stranger
with the brilliant, knowing smile
had carefully lettered each word.

A week later I found out through friends
that they had received similar cards.
A sadly conceived marketing scheme
from a national soft drink company.


I don’t know why but I kept the card,
carefully filing it away between
tax returns and tattered warranties,
both a trinket and a monument,
like a hopeful nesting bird
saving string, and flowers
storing up for spring.