This post was originally published when I was thrilled to have a new poem up at Nine Muses Poetry. This poem was written about my occasional time spent writing poetry at Magpie’s and named, appropriately, “Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill.” The journal is long-since out of business, but before that happened the editor, Annest Gwilym, nominated this poem for Best of the Net.
I decided to open my book Rooted and Winged with the poem because it fit so well my theme of the tension between the metaphorical desire to fly and our earth-bound lives.
Since the poem can no longer be found at the site of the journal, here it is:
Tuesday Afternoon at Magpie’s Grill
Flickering afternoon light slatted and parsed.
At 3PM, the booths empty except for me
and my notebook.
Would I notice if not for my companion,
my need to recognize and remember?
Without a record, will I hear the ice crashing
into the sink, the Dodger talk at the bar
at the end of the room under the Miller Lite
neon confident and beckoning?
My mother used to say about me,
In one ear and out the other, as if the words
flowed through me without stopping,
without truly entering me, leaving little
effect, as if I had no memory
of all the little parental transgressions.
Why am I not under the sycamore I spot
through the blinds in this Tuesday sunshine
listening to the very song with the shady tree?
What have I done with my life? When
I should have written a poem, I didn’t.
When I did, I didn’t get it quite right.
How can a poem do so many things:
wishing for the shade and thirsty for a beer,
feeling an urge to move my pen and noting
the tiny feet and brush of cuticle,
the solitary fly on my bare arm, while
imagining the chattering of the birds that swoop
from sycamore to jacaranda as if the parking lot
and dumpsters and broken bottles don’t exist.
No matter what I notice,
no matter what I record, I will never
capture the ease of wind-filled wings,
tail feathers a translucent backlit fan,
as my hollow bones jettison the detritus
to fly upward against the source.