Monday, March 14, 2011

When I Am Old (or Apocolypse: Now)

The sides of my house will say Frigidaire
my cathedral ceiling, the color of cement and pigeon poo,
will run across four lanes.
My TV set will be the ever-changing sides of delivery trucks
whizzing past at light speed
their tires mere inches from my uncovered toes.
I will peer at the colors, unable to read.
My broken glasses, slapped from my face by a crazy man
over an ice cream cone, will rest useless against my breast.
I slip them on when I remember.

Each afternoon I will totter on swollen legs
to the dumpster behind the Micky D's.
I will carefully peel away the hamburger
and eat the buns. No e-coli for me from
old meat, dontcha know?

On Tuesdays the young women from the mission
will pass among me and my friends
(old women, all, toothless and gray)
offer up toothpaste (but no brush),
and the peppermint taste will bring smiles
to gummy mouths. But we only taste when
we hear The Word, a babble of Psalms that
eases their hearts, not mine.

On Saturday nights we will leave the exit,
moving in twos against the wind from the tractor trailers,
our coughs from the unfiltered exhausts
slowing us. Holding hands, me and my old friend
will find our way to the parking lot of Pizza Hut,
where we will feast on crusts.

Or maybe

Pizza Hut will be shuttered and Micky D's demolished,
because no one can buy fast food anymore.
The masses huddled at the exit will sit in silence
and no one will come.

Either way, we will die
one by one by one.

8 comments:

  1. Wow. I haven't seen this poetry side of you before. I like this and can almost hear it being read at an open mic.

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  2. Oh. My God. This is amazing. So beautiful! Please tell me you are publishing this?!

    ~Tara

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  3. Thanks for the comments! Much appreciated. Tara, I had not thought about publishing this other than on my blog.

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  4. Wow---well done, Anita! I don't recall seeing your poetry before---you should write it more often. I like it very much.

    An interesting contrast with the famous "When I Am Old, I Shall Wear Purple" poem.

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  5. Very good! I agree that you should publish this.

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  6. This is an incredibly powerful poem. It's a painful subject to read, but so wonderfully written!

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  7. I love it! Always knew you as a news writer, this is an interest & talent that I never knew much about.

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