Here’s a sample of my memoir in prose poetry/poetry/flash for final thesis. Up today on a lovely poetry site (Don’t talk to me about love). Check it out. This is my first post after breaking both arms in a pilates class and losing my mother three days later, but…that’s another story. These pieces were originally in prose poetry format but the editor convinced me to break them into traditional lines. Oh, what the heck??? Kaye
How Can A Woman?
Pale pink, but the slender cartridge and shiny, slimy sensual lip
slicker vaseline-quality of the new lipstick purchase reminds me
of the woman my father finally married. My mother told me
the multiple storylines of that novel
She really didn’t leave a whole lot out though I wish
she had. “Too much sharing, mother,” I thought but never
voiced the words because she needed someone
My father stayed “at the office late” in the evenings and my
mother (fresh red lipstick in anticipation of father’s
homecoming) placed the lamb chops, mashed potatoes
and mint sauce in the warming oven.
The dinner waited there until he returned, and sometimes it
sat overnight, drying into a leather shoe.
I first met the “other woman” on a car ride at
three years old. My father invited me along in the rambling 1950’s Ford,
a blue one.
I climbed up into the wide panel that
graced the rear glass window and stretched my pudgy
just-beyond-toddler body along its warm and sunny bed.
Sooner than later, a woman got into the front passenger seat
—a ridiculous blonde bird nest hair woman of older age,
bright red shiny lipstick
faked across thin lips, extended over the lip line,
bleeding into tiny corner lines, and
smearing across the front teeth when she grinned “hello.”
Her steel blue eyes cornered me, trapped the
little girl on the back panel.
What Is She Doing in My Mummy’s Car?
I have a lovely yellow wallet.
It zips around its hidden treasures,
its single and its ten-dollar bills,
coin compartment that holds dry cleaning receipts,
where a MasterCard and a Visa to the world lie ready for action.
I have a picture of a great Indian master in here.
He smiles outwardly, long white beard, hair wrapped in a white turban.
Pictures of my kids? I don’t like
to advertise them.
One is a soldier and I don’t want his photo “out there” for Isis.
I live a quiet life, a simple one.
Not much riff-raff in my wallet. Just the basics as wallets exist for money and I don’t want cocaine grains from other people’s money to wipe off
on my kids. The guru can handle it.
My father had a beat-up, weathered wallet, brown with cracks and curled corners.
It caused his back pocket to jut out.
Not good for the back.
I’ve heard lumpy wallets cause sciatica.
I always thought he had a lot of money in there but once,
when he forgot it on the bathroom sink,
I locked myself in there and peeked
a look, a tiny look that morphed into a long and startled one.
There was that woman.
Her distorted lips
in a large grin, teeth bared, the weasel around her shoulders,
blue eyes peering from white opaque skin,
two distinct dabs of rouge
on plastered cheekbones.
And there was yet another black and white photo of the two of them
sitting on a picnic blanket, the blanket my mother displayed on the back
of the living room sofa,
the checked one her sister knitted when she married
my father. The woman and the man stared
at someone taking
their picture, not a self-portrait but a photo taken by someone else.
How do I know?
She was making eye contact with this “someone” and that laugh
screamed through her eyes.
My father sat with his legs forward
along the blanket, a cap on his bald man head,
a slight dimpled smile and eyes making contact with a twinkle. The two of them held hands. Who took that photo? They should have told someone.
Where Did You Go?
It twists its throttling fingers
around my throat
cutting into a heavy block weighing into my solar plexus.
I have known this weight before
but as a child when you left home
for many months, and I heard you whistle
down the street,
expecting to see you bring my red cardigan
on a windy day, but it was not
you. Strangers walked the streets around me
and I heard the whistle again from a bird on a wire, its tiny feet fighting for balance in the whipping wind. You promised you would
speak to me in my dreams,
run your fingers over my hand,
or over my feet, a gesture I loved
when you lived, when your harshness
softened in moments of stroking,
as if a guilty follow-up to a cruel word or two or three.
Where are you? You made a promise
and you always honored a promise.
Are you unable to reach me?
“Chin up,” you would say.
And I hear those words again but from a far
distant place in my memory,
from the red maple leaves and pure white
gardenias that bloom outside my office window.
And you were always
so lonely. I wish I could
pick up the phone and hear your voice again,
hear you tell of sitting in your old leather chair
watching the branches sway on the huge oak tree near the balcony.
You said “I’ll talk to you later,” and you never did.
I am still waiting
for your voice,
a sign, a goodbye.
I am still
Kaye Linden (with an MFA in fiction, now completing one in poetry,) is a widely published, award winning flash and prose poetry writer and poetry editor online at www.kayelinden.com.