Saturday, March 12, 2016

Saturday Poem: Torn Curtains

Like a lot of poets, my own work is at some level a sort struggle to remember and also a commentary on memory. One of the great examples of this sort of thing is Robert Frost's Directive? This one is called Torn Curtains:
The road, named for some forgotten coal baron, leads up the western slopes of the valley, winding past the detritus of a foundering civilization – discarded machinery, rubble piles, the abandoned fire station. At the Half Moon Cafe – torn curtains blowing in an upstairs window – you make a right and veer down into a little hollow that just might remind you of the lost era of revenuers, cock-fights, and outdoor privies. There used to be a stream through here, but long ago, during the age of progress, they buried it underground. Somewhere in this lost world there was a scrubby little ballfield that no one ever mowed, with flat stones for bases in a misshapen diamond, and a bush half-way up the nearby culm bank marking the homer line. Under the rock for home plate, if you can ever find it again, there will be a message for you, written on the back of a Bazooka Joe comic, rolled into a tube like a cigarette and stuffed into an empty Winston's pack. I've forgotten what I wrote so long ago, but it seemed important at the time. Indeed, I've forgotten so much, and jumbled so much of what I do remember – I just don't know for sure what I'd meant to tell the finder. Kilroy was hereWe winI love so-and-so. Or perhaps it was a map. With an X in the lower left, then a winding scrawl marking the path somewhere, and then another X and a large question mark in the upper right. Follow the path and find the next message. Another map, another scrawled trail. Keep at it, and somewhere along the way you'll meet me, half-way lost, but coming home.

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