Monday, October 25, 2010

Pamela St. Clair

Here's a song for little Pamela St. Clair
Impossibly tall and thin at ten
Her limbs were floppy, and
She was energetic for her age
And broke her own hymen
Falling down the stairs.

whole foods lady

She wore pearls in a string
Prim and coiled three times.
I wondered if she'd coughed them up,
The whole thing in its entirety,
So full of wisdom was she.
And if she'd had them in her prime,
Before now, wrinkles and hair
So thin, for I could not see
Each pearl, rolling around in her mouth,
Spat into her palm, eyed and added,
Globe by milky globe, to the string.
Her hair was proud white,
Denying Old Age that one small victory.
She had given up hair dye
When it had become clownish,
A red flag that she was nearer death
Than she believed.


She said
You've gotten meaner with every pound
You've dropped.
Like clockwork, each tick downward
Has made you
Just a bit more
Of an unbearable bitch.

I said, for you,
The same is true.

She said
No, people actually like me.
They just want to fuck you.
Don't confuse the two.

And so she planted a seed of truth
From which grew a stalk
From which unfolded
A thousand tiny roses
Of doubt.

Feel Old

The year I learned with the heart-pounding subtlety
Of a surprise sledgehammer to the core
The true meaning of the phrase
"What goes around comes around"--
Being left by those I'd left before.

If anything my own beaten path
Should have shown how easy the nomad adapts,
The stepping away, stepping back
From places that once were home,
Now only footprints and timestamps, no more.

I wonder how this could feel like a sneak attack
When it so obviously lurked,
The only real outcome, waiting behind
Doors one-two-and-three, how this moment
Of domestic bliss would of course
Evolve into an image in a picture frame,
A time capsule, souvenirs, fleeting as
The hot bolts of a lightning storm,
Leaving the air quite different from its
Charged state moments before.

It's not like this was a snake in the grass,
Was not stealthy, fast,
Instead feels oddly like a relic from my past,
Finally finding its way home, perhaps
Following a strange path
But irascible nonetheless, inevitable,
Unshakable, a Real Blow but not
Emerging from nowhere, no.

And I've told myself this is how we grow,
Older but some of us not bold,
Determined to grasp the trailing strings
Take hold of disintegrating things,
Clasped tight to keep from turning cold.

But I feel old. I feel like
A yardsale in January, and the wares
Are valued solely by me,
And thus will not be sold.