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Thursday, July 16, 2009


by Lynnie Gobeille

after reading Charles Bukowski's "poetry readings"

She arrives in patterned flower pants
floppy sea green sweater, clogs,
her hair loose and matted
beaded woven bracelets dancing on her arm.
Introduces her first poem with the rambling saga
of her divorce, the recent death of her cat, how just
today she discovered a mouse had chewed through
small wires in the ice maker of her mother’s old refrigerator…
Her mother’s death resurfacing in all that water.
All of us are flattered when she remembers our names.
Talks to us as if she knows us. Or we know her.
I have been to enough of these to know
we are merely shells in the game.
People whose identity gets moved from here to here…
chair to chair ..reading to reading. We all sit in silence.
Witness her weave her star- like magic
Are her poems fabulous?
Or are they fabulous because we hear her read them?
My friend falls in love and buys two books. Hopes to have
them autographed and waits in line. Watches closely as the poet
signs each one with regal grace…
  I am asked to fetch more books
and dash off eagerly, honored by the task. Opening the car door,
overwhelmed by the sweet scent of spice and onions….I wade
through bags of garbage. An empty wine bottle rolls around at my feet
wrappers from a half eaten grinder slip through my fingers,
her children’s clothes and toys covering the back seat…
I kneel there breathing in all that is the magic of her life.
I recall the last poem she read.
  The one about the birds.
How they fly up and move from spot to spot,
three feet up to down.
She read it with such energy and amazement.

Breathing in one last blast of lunch
  and sweat and disaster,
I gather up her treasures.
Head back into the library…
Praying someday to be of equal measure

Lynnie Gobeille has been published in the Sow's Ear Review, Crone's Nest, Clear Creek Courant, The Avatar, The Prairie Home Companion, This I Believe (NPR) and New Verse News. She is the editor for The Poetry Corner in the Providence Journal South County section. Currently part of the Origami Poems Project, a state wide "free poetry event" based in Rhode Island.