My Three Disgraces
(To Suzette Jones-Shorter)
It was her dream. It was a wish confined
under the blankness of an assumed stare;
never shared with anyone, not even
her deepest self. She dreaded that composed,
sensible voice signaling the moment
all burning expectations are stripped bare:
left to freeze, humbly die, and rot away
in the exile of reason. Her heart closed
in on that dream; frail bloom tunneling
the strata of nihilism. Now blind,
she joyfully assumes permanent bonds
of mediocrity. "Why be exposed
to that?" She asked out loud. "I must be kind
to myself. What's the use; I just don't care."
It tastes like candy yet it doesn't melt
on the tongue like cotton kind; sticks like it
will adhere to roof of your mouth. Linger-
down low into the pocket of your cheek,
it's impossible not to want more, rid
oneself of the first luscious time you felt
good. You want MORE, long to place the toxic
pellets into other mouths. You'll shriek
with glee when "natural" & "truth" are spelt
as "saccharine," or "need to know basis."
But you'll succumb deeper, be found knelt,
demoralized, mucking your way through shit
that grew out of your mouth. Since you dealt
this blow to Truth, be ashamed -- and don't spit!
Time does me a favor by erasing
those embarrassing moments engraved in
my brain. But what excuse do I have to
let the important ones go down the drain,
like the feel of Mum softly rocking
me to sleep? Or that first cardinal sin
committed at nine? The softness of his
lips on mine at fourteen? The searing pain
at twenty-five of watching my Dad die?
The feel of contentment when writing
a real poem with pride at thirty-two?
I have yet - at thirty-four, to attain
a sense of history, but I'm striving-
not to neglect all these loved ones within.