Posts Tagged ‘poems



12
Oct
08

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo

Billy, Chad and Tikki Tikki Tembo
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

When my son’s friend peddled his bicycle out of
our neighborhood for what would be his last time
and his life forever separated from our’s,
first by distance and eventually by time,
I thought of you, Billy, and your last day in our First Grade class.

Life provides a list of sorrows and sadnesses
seemingly connected and thirty-odd years later,
I remember now, your moving away.
You displayed and dispensed
justice and had a sense of yourself

you needn’t prove to the other children.
You were a leader worthy to follow and so
I gladly played my role as your right-hand man
on the playground and in the halls of school.
I shadowed you that day in class

and was certain someone would notice
and then point out to embarrass –
the lump I could only feel in my throat.
At recess, with you and another boy
as captains, we were divided into two teams

and played one last game of kickball,
everyone else acting as if nothing
would change later that day
when the dismissal bell rang. Your empty desk
the next morning came as a surprise to me.

I don’t know why. Perhaps it was your nametag
the three-by-five index card, still taped to your desk
which wasn’t your desk anymore. And Mrs. Clancy,
with whom I was hopelessly in love, reading to us and I,
cross-legged at her feet, sat mesmerized by her story

of the Chinese boy and his family who lived in the
wonderful ink-and-wash drawings with fanciful swirls
and the bricked well, the old man sleeping, always by a tree
and the boy, always the boy, in water up to his eyes,
waiting to be noticed, waiting to be rescued.

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08
Oct
08

A Testament to Freedom

A Testament to Freedom by Darren King [copyright 2008]

For Pfc. Joseph Sturgis, Jamestown NY

I sat next to him on a flight
from Atlanta to Detroit
and closed my book somewhere
over the Tennessee Valley –
he wasn’t ever going to stop talking.
He was going home
on a seventeen-day leave of absence
after basic training,
then onto a twelve-month
stint in Korea.
He was going home to tell his father
how sorry he was,
for the trouble he had caused,
the worry.
He was going home to tell his father
he had become a man
and was someone to be proud of.

04
Oct
08

REESE’S FAMILY

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

REESE’S FAMILY

It’s what you wrote
there in our driveway
the weekend after
you turned five –
uppercase letters
in pink sidewalk chalk
perfectly centered across
a score in the pavement.
You drew a large
pink heart
above your words
then stood back
and smiled –
the way one smiles in pride
for his lineage, his name –
this is my home,
these are the people I love,
these people belong to me.

03
Oct
08

First Born

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

Your formal name
is derived from Old English.
But ever since you were born
we preferred its Irish form
meaning spirited;
which more suit
your personality as an infant,
especially as a toddler
and definitely as the
undaunted young man of ten
I drove to hockey on
winter Saturday mornings.
You are your mother
and your father both
when at their very best.
You have inherited
their eccentricities
which can make you
difficult to parent
and for other children
easy to admire.
And when Sage our cat
had to be put down,
you wanted to go with us,
to be there for him.
And if we had let you,
you would have stayed,
I know you would have.
But it was one of those times
(please forgive us)
when we tried not to forget
that you were still just a boy
when we were trying so much
to do the right thing for you,
when nothing else about that
sad, sad day felt right.
But let me say this –
when sorrow is overcome
by bravery
for someone you love,
it means you are too good
for this world of cabbages and kings,
which places you my son
among its saints.

02
Oct
08

Honey I get it. I really do.

By Darren King [copyright 2008]

 

There’s the first life you live –
the one where you help
your little boy clean himself
after with limited success
he’s used his big-boy potty seat
and then you wipe up the
cat puke in the foyer
you swiffered the night before
after Letterman.
It’s the life where
piles of laundry rule your space
but you’ve grown to ignore
them as a strong-hold defense
against insanity.
Make the beds, wash the dishes,
vacuum the floors, you’re too
busy to make lists and by evening
you’re waiting for your husband
so you can start dinner.
And when he finally arrives he’s late
and smells of his lunch he ate
peacefully in a nice restaurant
with his colleagues –
all of whom are over the age of four.
He comes in through the front door,
unscrews the top of his head, places his brain
on the table in the hall and asks,
“How was your day?”
Your second life
is the one where you imagine yourself
among your artists acquaintances
on a sunny Thursday afternoon
in a University town,
the streets have been blocked off,
you’re in a white, tented booth
with your name on the outside,
listed above the town you’re from,
your artist booth number.
You sip vendor lemonade as
your shoulders pink over the day
and you talk with attractive,
culturally-sensitive people who
upon approaching your work
ask you many interesting questions –
none of which have to do with laundry,
the best swiffer or pet vomit.
You love your children.
You love your husband.
But at least once a day, every day,
the possibility of your second life
will see you through
the reality of your first.

 

02
Sep
08

Antidote to the Rejection Letter

Antidote to the Rejection Letter
By Darren King [copyright 2008]

The dream is always the same –
she is sitting next to me,
confident, beautiful,
gracefully turning
the pages of my poems,
telling me her favorites –
I love the imagery in this stanza,
that word, it’s so effective,
I must share it, she says.
With perfect enunciation
she reads aloud my work,
my words.
My poems sound so relevant,
so necessary,
when Oprah is reading them.




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