summer of sorrow

dear friends
i had no intention of writing this, as we were
driving to the farm on Friday these words just
began arriving. why?… i have no idea because i
haven’t thought about these memories in decades.
oh, the mystery and wonder of poetry….

so Scout took the wheel and it all spilled out,
before we reached the farm. everything told here
is true. i changed her name, it didn’t seem fair
not to.

i don’t often put the song i write to, up top,
but this song IS part of this story more than
any other poem i’ve written. it was the only song
i listened to that summer when it was released.

as always, the words follow the slow tempo. ty.
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oh Lola,
my Puerto Rican Princess
you wrote such exquisite poetry then
oh, my peaceful flower child
where, where do your words reside today?

we loved each other, our senior year
so immersed, in Tolkien and Kazantzakis
so inseparable, a promised ever after in our eyes
so untouchable, to a world beyond our view

the purity and innocence, of a first true love
our reflected light so intense, we outshone the sun
we were just 16, the only moment that truly mattered
was whatever moment we were in

born a little too late for Woodstock,
we were still committed and it was always
about Peace, Love and Understanding with us
and oh, did we wear our hippy proud!

i can still remember, the whole bunch of us
hangin’ out, smokin’ out and singin’ out loud!
while you braided my waist length hair
right there, on the worn steps of our high school

an hour later, you gave your Valedictorian speech
hell…there wasn’t a dry eye in the house
oh Lola, you made your boyfriend so damn proud!
then, just one week later…you broke my heart

walking those miles to your apartment
with a flower, I always picked for your hair
you and him were holding hands and laughing
the flower died…right where it dropped

gone was your ankle length, silken skirt
gone was the sheer, embroidered Indian blouse
and the peace sign necklace I saved up for
who was this girl, with cut off shorts and t shirt?

and so began my summer of sorrow, that year in ‘71
and so began a lifelong habit, retreating in silence
when the pain becomes so unbearably real
there was no peace, no love…only my fountain of tears
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images (32)

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and then about ten years later,
i shut the lights and locked the door
to my little shop and went for my run
and no matter the temperature or weather

wearing shorts, sneaks, headband and ponytail
i ran and ran and ran, ‘til I just couldn’t run no more
hey man, I was committed…….to never being hurt again
but there was no peace, no love and no one to understand

and as I was bent over, trying to catch my breath
under the arch at Washington Square
this woman who seemed so excited to see me
hugged me right through, all the sweat on my chest!

‘how are you, it’s so good to see you! how long has it been?’
and then like an electric shock, thunderbolt to my heart
i thought, ‘oh God no, my Puerto Rican Princess,
where, where, where did you go?’

oh sweet Lola, my faded flower child
you probably don’t remember saying this
as we sat down, and the bottle came out of your purse,
‘Aragon, I made such a mistake leaving you. I’m really sorry’

all I could say, after us both taking a hefty swig,
‘please, please tell me, you took that full scholarship to Vassar’
her blank stare said, ‘do you wanna’ see some pics of my kids?’
so as one pain began to heal… another wound took its place
and her promised call…never did ring
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now I don’t pray all that often, but i knelt that night,
‘please, please, help her come to her senses. help her see!
or send someone to save her..….then send someone to save me’

the love note left

Not a single detail of the apartment
renovation would Charlie leave unnoticed,
relaxed in her own skin so comfortably deliberate
in her decisions, aligning tradesman
one by one day after ten hour day.
Sharing space in the small one bedroom condo
close quarters for even one small person,
the work would continue without a hitch and at a pace
that would make a seasoned developer envious.
Making allies not enemies the path of least resistance
that easy way about her a trait developed early used often,
her familiarity never breeding contempt.

Her husky laugh was always a welcome distraction,
she was your friend despite knowing little about her.
The sienna brown eyed gaze and a belief in every word,
no pretense in her warm eyes her simple fashion as honest.
Every facet of her life so carefully considered
and if missteps were made, they never showed.
Dark brown hair, parted air dryed and tossed
framed glowing mediteranean skin, no makeup.

For years the neighbors saw her walking the coiffed Shitzu
her only constant companion, both of short stature in such
a big world sharing such a quiet confidence between them,
wherever it was they both belonged.
Not a single life detail would Charlie ever leave to chance,
simple smart styled furnishings had a purpose and reason
a reflection of a life lived unattached.

Quiet solitary rarely a sound heard, that only in
ocassional hallway passing did neighbors learn
that Charlie no longer lived alone.
Unannounced as was her habit, nonetheless a choice
and a chance taken that would change everything.
Her first love, Charlie was fearless.

As planned, the many details welcoming her partner
expanded closetspace, cozy double bathroom sinks
2 leather barstools the kitchen island
the surface a finely polished black granite custom ordered,
all perfectly executed and completed on time as expected.
Forever an early riser never a shared kitchen
Charlie slipped easily into her new morning ritual, disciplined
brewing extra coffee a place setting cut organic fruit, yogurt.
A favorite though, Charlie left scribbled
notes on linen cards handmade enclosed in its matching envelope.
Reminders, loving misivs handwritten in her steady penmanship,
leaving little doubt of her devotion.

thCAWMPCOG

Waking up later than usual that day Charlie already long gone,
staring at that drawer already overflowing a year full of notes,
the questions and doubts already answered
the backpack filled regrets set aside, the decision to leave made.
Closing the drawer and locking the door behind her, the love note left
exactly where she always found it.

written March 2013