The Poet Spiel: “Odds”


My husband and I have just returned from the Soulforce Anti-Heterosexism Conference in West Palm Beach, where we met some of our favorite bloggers, heard a fantastic sermon by Rev. Deborah Johnson of Inner Light Ministries, and felt completely welcome as the token straight couple. I’ll be posting a complete report here after the holidays. Meanwhile, enjoy this poem from The Poet Spiel, whose new book is forthcoming from March Street Press in 2010.

Odds

Flesh-hued cotton panties over their heads,
    covering their ears
and topped off by orange and green party hats
    from that carousing
in 1944 on army leave in Paris where they were
    rightfully
thrilled at the revelation of one another in
    dark shadows.

Now these two old men are fixtures faded as
    wallpaper,
unable to recall why panties and hats had been
    so hilarious
in their steamy bathroom mirror one
    way-back-when drunken night;
only that the panties keep their ears warm,
    reason enough.

They piddle their aches from threadbare
    tapestried chairs,
facing so their feet meet to keep track of
    each other;
each half-deaf, fearing he cannot hear the
    other breathe.
Yet they also fear dead silence, so they kill it
    with classic vinyl,

spinning I get no kick from cocaine. But it’s
    not the lyric
that lulls their hearts, it’s the familiarity of
    old tunes;
how they used to hug-dance in their
    lard-laden kitchen,
brittle Woolworth’s shades drawn down
    against a world

that might not tolerate two such battle-weary
    soldiers,
peacefully withdrawn. Alone, together: Edward
    crocheting
dainty doilies to keep his knotted knuckles nimble,
    Rodney knitting
acres of the cutest afghans for those virile young
    boys in Iraq.

Long ago, they had to abandon thoughts of ever
    going back home,
just tucked them away in their root cellar to gather
    fungus and mouse turds,
but they agree noises rise from there, like sharp
    cracklings
of their battalion on the front lines of The Big War.

2 comments on “The Poet Spiel: “Odds”

  1. mirkoshek says:

    I would not want to be there

  2. zhenimsja says:

    Hi, guy! I’m utterly acclaim your way of thinking and all of joined.

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