Dear Hubski,

Begin a poem with "This is what it's like" and see where it takes you. _refugee_, Cumol, humanodon, thenewgreen, mk, rezzeJ, mivasairski, TheGreatAbider16, OftenBen, coffeesp00ns, ButterflyEffect, flagamuffin, tacocat, steve, weewooweewoo, nowaypablo Complexity lil -- and everyone else who has a heart of poetry... all of us.

Here's mine:

This Is What It's Like

  This is what it's like to be older

and back in the town where I grew up

  The teller compliments the woman ahead of me

for the colour of her top

The woman, in her 70s or 80s,

much older than me,

recites lines of

"When I Get Older I Shall Wear Purple"

And adds, "The poem's about never being allowed to be yourself.

Now that I'm old

I do what I damn well please."

  And I linger in the supermarket

over the fresh squeezable oranges,

but instead buy a carton of juice for the boyfriend

not wanting to be doctrinaire

about anything, even orange juice.

And being back in the town where I spent

some of my 30s, I see a woman I used to know

an artist, also much older now.

She was part of some of the drama of those days --

drama we get into when adventure is

more interesting than security

and intensity looks a lot like


  and then I remember her mural "April Dawn"

commissioned for the new cancer ward.

Before the opening party, I told her,

if I go into labour and miss

seeing the mural

I'll name the baby, April Dawn.

  But I went into labour a few hours later

at the afterparty,

and the baby stayed nameless for days.

This is what it's like to be back

in a town where I went to high school

and left, and returned, and left again. Nick

Cave's "Rings of Saturn"

is the sound track now: this is the moment, this is

exactly where she is born to be

and now I'm older and people are going back

to the places they left.

  And this is what it's like:

I sit outside. It's warm, like summer,

but it's October in Canada.

The unusual will become usual as

tiny birds with blue-striped wings

fill the large pine tree beside me.

I've never seen these birds before.

  This is what it's like.


"This is what it's like," said the recruiter, showing me the screenshot of a first-person shooter.

"This is what it's like," said the CO, as we stood drenched in sweat from head to toe.

"This is what it's like," said the EOD, defusing a mine that would have taken his knee.

"This is what it's like," said the veteran, as our unit rotated out for some rest again.

"This is what it's like," says the evening news, reminding me of things that I made myself do.

"This is what it's like," says my former spouse, with one last spiteful glance towards my house.

"This is what it's like," says the therapist, and puts me in pain that I didn't know could exist.

"This is what it's like," say people like myself, who can't know their pain and don't think to help.

posted by lil: 312 days ago