Friday, July 06, 2007

Poem: Cross Talk

I wrote this poem after attending back to back high school grads: it's sorta a prose poem or story poem, or whatever:

Cross Talk

I was trying to listen to speeches
at the high school graduation
those people on stage were talking to me
about our children becoming adults
but instead what I heard
were the two women in front of me
blathering about someone I didn’t know
women! hell, I could gossip plenty
our son got some girl pregnant but she lost it
I don’t need to know details
or wallow in someone else’s problems
so I told them to be quiet

I was telling my daughter about Mary
when this jerk told me to be quiet
while talking about my granddaughter
about the miscarriage, her future
the boy who disappeared on her
men, there to cause trouble
the jerk behind me does not know
life is more important than speeches
to finish I had to whisper in my daughter’s ear
Marilyn needed to know my feelings
a daughter relies on her mother for advice
she relies on me just as Mary will rely on her

When he complained I was so glad
I hoped maybe mom would stop—but no,
she had to finish, leaning in
her breath smelling like a toilet
you’d think Mary was her daughter
all I wanted was to enjoy the moment
Mary’s cap and gown, how grown she was
to forget, for a moment, the mess
how she kept the baby for the future
endured the jerks, then lost it all
speeches about the future mean little
when the future stands before me

Victor Schwartzman

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