Wednesday, September 30, 2009



Walking hot on a sidewalk white,
She stepped inside a cavern tavern
That reeked of stale beer and tobacco
of cheap perfume
of the musk of men
But, offered as a consolation
Dark, cool air.

Sitting sticky on the red vinyl,
She ordered a rum and cola and
Lit a cig with trembling hands
trembling lips
trembling legs
And inhaled the smoke clear
down into her aching lungs.

Sweating sweetly on her green silk,
Her white-cottoned finger pressed
The moisture above her lip
between her breasts
behind her knee
As she looked around to see if
Anyone could see.

Hearing loudly a remembered tune,
Wailing forth into the dank air,
She absentmindedly tapped her toe
tapped her glass
tapped her mind
As the dancers took to the floor
Under the yellow paper stars.

Standing shyly on worn floorboards,
She turned to walk toward the door
When she heard his voice in her ear
in her hair
in her heart
Talking that familiar lingo of long ago
That always shocked her sensibilities.

Smiling appreciatively at his face,
A face that years ago she would not
Have even looked upon,
She took the hand of her partner
of her lover
of her savior
And laughed appreciatively
At his crude remarks.


Karen said...

What a departure for you! This is wonderfully told. The title says it perfectly - "All Over Again"! I especially like the repetition of words and phrases, providing emphasis to her actions and the situations. The progress of the poem leads from her entrance to her finding her salvation. Your details (rum and cola, green silk, yellow paper stars, etc.) flesh this out. There's a southern flavor to this one, Kaye. I absolutely love it.

the walking man said...

K this is a wonderfully done narrative poem! My how time changes perceptions.

Vesper said...

How time changes everything... good or bad...
The repetitions that Karen noticed stand out for me too, giving a great rhythm to your poem.
Wonderful, Kaye, despite or maybe because of its quiet sadness.

trooping with crows said...

Oh Mom, Mom! This one has a definite beat, rhythm, and tune. A wonderfully told "snapshot". I think it's WILD how you can write about faeries, tiger bones, and a rekindled flame in a bar! This one, as with most of your poems, made me smile and sigh.

(reminds me a little of Joaquin's poem "Skinny Legs"!!!!)

Anonymous said...

I felt the nerves. And the shaking appreciation.

A cool air savior.

Margaret said...

I love the way you describe the details in such a way that I not only read it but feel, smell and taste the surroundings!

Just excellent K.

Aine said...

It's so wonderful how perceptions can change over time. We find appreciation in all the overlooked corners. Some call it wisdom.

(Loved the "sitting sticky on the red vinyl," literally made me squirm on my desk chair!)

Catvibe said...

Time sure does make a difference. In some ways we are less tolerant, and in some ways we find the things that used to bug us become charming and what really matters becomes clear. We aren't really even the same person anymore, but we still all feel in our bodies, just like she felt, just like I felt in reading this twice through. Blanch desires, no matter what streetcar she is on.

laughingwolf said...

wow... blew me away, klg :)

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Karen - I recently observed someone who just needed a poem written about her - and this ensued. It is definitely of southern persuasion. Thanks a bunch!

WM - many thanks for that. Indeed - What was once an insult, for her, becomes a compliment of sorts. His manners are still an affront to her sensibilities, but she overlooks the offense because she is lonely.

Hi Vesper, Yes, time has a way of distorting one's view of things. This person was once a beauty queen and chaste in many ways. But, the fear of being alone has made her a little more accepting of men, who in earlier days, never got a second glance from her.

TWC - Thanks, Riss. Well, you know, if one thinks she thinks about thinking more than anyone else ever thought about thinking....eventually she tells it all. LOL! XO

Jason - I think we have all been there at some point! Thanks, my friend. ;))

Margaret - I appreciate your comment so much. I am keen on sensory perception. Thank you.

Aine - Thanks so very much for the great comment. Yes, I think in this case she settled - because, not much was available to her. But, that's alright, I think. :)

Hi Cat - Ha! I like the way you put that- about the streetcar.

Yes, I do think she lowered her standards, but for this time in her life - that is what she wanted to do - and it is what made her happy. Thanks!!

Hi, LW - glad to oblige! Thanks for the enthusiasm. ;)

Anonymous said...

Excellent character sketch... you paint a wonderful scene here. I agree with Karen, the repetition and small important details really bring it to life. Awesome! :)

joaquin carvel said...

i was so wrapped up in this the first time through that i was blindsided by the last 2 stanzas. her frailty and weariness and faint, fading hope permeate this like that smoke - and her turning towards what she once would turn away from is amazing and feels like an epilouge mr. williams would have applauded. love this one!

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Hi Joseph, This one was both fun and sad for me to write. I saw her as a sort of "Delta Dawn" character - one to be pitied, almost. I appreciate your favorable comments.

Joaquin - Oh, Gosh...if only TW would have applauded this!! Thank you for that. I had hoped that she would come across as a sympathetic character - even though she was "looking for love in all the wrong places." I hoped that she wouldn't be faulted for that. Thanks, as always!

Mairi said...

When I was a teenager I had a friend whose grandmother used to go out in a white dress covered in little red hearts, with matching red shoes and hair ribbons, wearing her search for love like a sandwich board. It was sad in her version and it's sad in yours. And just as graphically told.

Ghost Dansing said...

this is an exceptionally kewl poem by the way.... i came back and read it twice....

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Mairi - I guess it's what life comes down to in the long run. Who knows? I may be out there in a little white dress with hearts on it someday. Thanks so much for your comment. Always appreciated.

Ghost Dansing - Aren't you sweet. I love when you stop in and leave me a comment. Thanks!!! ;)

Rick said...

Hello, K. I left you a comment earlier that apparently didn't go through (with my new contacts I should do better at this), so I thought I'd stop by again and tell you how much I admire this piece. It's rough beauty reminds me of days I wish I had been around for but missed through an accident of time.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick, thanks so much for coming by again. Well, I can't say I was actually around for that era either - entirely. But, it makes a good story. Your last sentence is intriguing...splain yourself, Lucy!

Rick said...

It goes back to the last part of my meeting with Walt Whitman, as I shall call him for although I believe him to just that very man, I can understand the rational point of view that death is final, time is fixed, and nothing really and truly remarkable shall be allowed to happen in between. There are men who stride with vision and purpose, and men who walk as though in front of a camera, smiling too much and posing, posing, always posing. This man who entered the restaurant with his bloodied shoes and cheap, rough journal was a man who strode. Looking back, I do believe he was there to trade places so that he might have another world to stride through. Looking back, I do not believe he would have been intimated by brick and steel and plastic. Looking back, I surely should have taken his offer.

Julie said...

What an excellent narrative piece, Kaye! The details are fantastic, and I especially love that third stanza. That's not to discredit the rest of the piece. I just really enjoyed the tension in those details. I always felt so sorry for Blanche. And Stella.

You capture her essence here beautifully.

Aniket said...

Well, since am late the gods have already spoken everything I felt.

Echo to Margaret that you make one feel through your words. The words take us places.

Some things never change... some things do.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Rick - Not sure what I would have done. Fascinating to have such an experience with someone on another plane of existence - and with such a beautiful and intelligent spirit. If you see him again - tell him I have been looking for him under my boot soles....

Julie - as always very much appreciated.

Aniket - I am ALWAYS interested in your asture observations. Thank you, friend.

gel said...

This engaging narrative carries me back in time expertly. You have a superb ability to awaken all of the senses in your work. A Streetcar Named Desire is one of my favorite plays.

Repetition is very effective here as well as the contrast of longer descriptive phrases to short ones. That emphasizes the mood and flow.

(I'm very glad you stopped by and I have put up a poem instead of taking months...)

Sarah Hina said...

As she looked around to see if
Anyone could see.

I like that. Does she want someone to see? I think so. The right person, anyway.

I felt a kind of pulsing fog here, layered with fallen expectations and a sticky time. You captured her worn vulnerability just perfectly, K, with some remarkable imagery and nuances.

I'm sorry I've not been by in awhile. You've made me realize, again, just how much I love your words and voice.

K.Lawson Gilbert said...

Gel - I always appreciate you comments and friendship. :)

Sarah - I think that is the right description here - worn vulnerability. Thanks for your keen eye. I have missed you, but know you are very busy! xo