Friday, July 11, 2008

Entry #13

Visiting You In Ward B
by K. Lawson Gilbert

Good God – is that you?
Always looking out the same
window - at the same statue
of Venus, standing
in the blue shadows.
Where in the hell is your hair?

Hey, Gorgeous!
How’s it going?
You know what
I was thinking about
driving over here?

some summers ago,
when you were George -
and sometimes Donna?
Man, we ripped down
old Memorial Highway
on that shiny
BSA Gold Star I had!
Heads full of Shakespeare
and bladders full of tequila.

Your hands take something apart,
or put something back together.

We were flying that night!
The wind, or the speed one,
stole your Hepburn scarf
right off your pretty head.
Yeah…somewhere between
third and fifth streets I think.
Oh, yeah… and remember, we tried
to find that billboard with my
daughter’s - boyfriend’s - father’s
face on it.

Is that a smile?

We careened
into the slick, soft night
effortlessly, laughingly,
relentlessly, as you
sang to your psyche
at the top of your lungs.

Are your eyes looking at my face?
Are you really seeing me?
Your lips are as soft as rose petals.
They taste like 1963.

You bet, baby.
That night there was
catharsis all around!

[K. Lawson Gilbert is a gregarious recluse, living a quasi Thoreau-like existence in the mountains of Pennsylvania, while teaching and enjoying her family. Her poetry has been published in various literary journals, magazines, and anthologies.]


JaneyV said...

K - I think this poem is beautiful. I have some experience of visiting a close family member with dementia and i think that your handling of it was perfect. I was particularly moved by these lines

Are your eyes looking at my face?
Are you really seeing me?
Your lips are as soft as rose petals.
They taste like 1963.


BernardL said...

Enchanting ride into chaos.

wrath999 said...

An enjoyable poem. Points of view from two people. tough to do in a poem. Great job.

September said...

I, too, was captured by those ending lines and have to agree with Janeyv.
Well done.

Anonymous said...

Janey, having a family member suffer from alzheimer's must be devastating. Thanks for your nice comments on my writing.

BernardL., Poetic way of putting it. Thank you.

Wrath999 - actually it is the male thinking and then speaking. The female is the one who is in the mental ward. Glad you liked my work, and thanks for taking time to comment.

KGilbert said...

September, I appreciate your comment.

K. Lawson Gilbert said...

Janey, Bernard, and comments were supposed to show my name. sorry KLG

ChrisEldin said...

This is beautiful and touching. I 'got' it immediately. You did a wonderful job of pulling us into their world. Bittersweet.

Sarah Hina said...

The writing here is magical.

I love the fact that you gave us his questioning interior thoughts, and the buoyant exterior monologue. His love for her--and his nostalgia and regret--are achingly beautiful. If anyone could coax a smile, he could.

Really loved it.

*~*{Sameera}*~* said...

Beautiful and melancholic at the same time!

klgilbert said...

Chris, Yes, you got it. Glad you liked it. Thanks for the kind words. Bittersweet is what I felt when composing it - both happy times and sad times here.

Sarah, your interpretation is what I had hoped readers would discern. Thank you for taking time to comment.

Sameera, yes, a person lost in their own little world is always hard for the other. Melancholy to its fullest extent. Thanks for commenting.

24crayons said...

This was so sweet and sad too.

Wannabe Writer said...

Sad poem. Well done. -Rita

klgilbert said...

24crayons and Wannabe Writer - thanks for taking the time to read and comment on my entry. It is a sad poem...but hopefully a life affirming one too. Live life deep and wide - with fervor! That is how I see my characters in their past.

HavasuSharon said...

Excellent use of the senses. I see a lot of 'I should have ...' in this piece. A sad well written look at loss

Sheri said...

Beautiful! Just beautiful and so poignant. I loved how you vacillated between the thoughts in his head and the things he actually said out loud. I just loved how artfully you did that - we all do this - think one thing, but say another. Very well written and heartbreaking at the same time. It's so hard losing a loved one to dementia or Alzheimer. It's like you already lost them and are left with an empty shell.

Oh and I agree with Janey - those were my same absolute favorite lines.

klgilbert said...

Havasusharon - I appreciate your comments. I hadn't realized until you mentioned it, that there was a prevalence of senses throughout.

Sheri - your comments are most appreciated. Thanks for your very astute and sensitive observations. :)

Scott said...

What a beautiful mix of poetry and story telling. So sad and pretty.

klgilbert said...

Scott...thanks for your thoughts on my entry - appreciated.

Dottie said...

I love the poetry and the understanding you bring to the protagonist. I really enjoyed this piece.

kgilbert said...

Dottie, I appreciate your stopping by and commenting. :)

Linda said...

Beautiful poem. Very unique entry. My favorite lines were "Where in the hell is your hair" and "They taste like 1963." Great job!

laughingwolf said...

exceptional write, thank you....

klgilbert said...

Linda, thanks for your comments. I love when readers add their favorite lines. Glad you liked the poem.

Laughingwolf, no...thank YOU for reading my entry and leaving a comment. :)

Aine said...

Very creative and interesting story!

Mental illness is such a strange beast. We want so badly to believe that the "real" person is still in there somewhere. (And often they are.) Family and friends suffer terribly.

Your words painted the scene beautifully.

jason evans said...

The ache is so well done...the tension between the remembering and the person now there. Trying to soothe someone, and in the process increasing the pain in yourself. Good marks overall. A contender for placing.

kgilbert said...

Aine, thanks for your comments. I tried to get inside his head before starting. My poetry is a mix of things that have happened and things imagined. I suppose all writers can say the same. I appreciate your insight. KLG

klgilbert said...

Jason, thanks for your perceptiveness. I strive to touch readers on many levels. In so many of these cases, the person "not afflicted" is in just as much pain, if not more. I appreciate your taking time to comment. You are always so welcoming and gracious to one who doesn't often get a chance to visit. Kaye