Thursday, August 13, 2009

You Tarzan, Me Surprised

When I was maybe thirteen
my parents began letting me
go to movies alone or with friends.
One Saturday matinee
the only show I was allowed to see
---after Loony Tunes and before the weekly serial---
I stood up to spot some friends.
In the flickering glimmer of a newsreel
or a Roy Rogers and Dale Evans preview
I saw my father
sitting a few seats in front of me
still wearing his baseball cap.
Asonished to see Dad at the movie
I never mentioned spotting him that day.
Perhaps he simply wanted to see
Tarzan of the Apes, Episode 13,
"His Own Kind."

(This poem originally appeared in Literary Magic,
Summer, 2009)

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Lint Heads' Lament

Today, the last big mill in our town
burned down, almost to the ground.
It was a vast factory once, employed
thousands---textile heaven in its day.
Vandals probably started the fire,
as they usually do, though who can
know why they want to destroy this
last big building where their whole family
worked over the years. Dozens pour out
to watch the dark, coiling smoke climb
so high in the sky a city twenty-five
miles away sees one of our landmarks
go up, make a menacing cloud.
Friends who've not seen each other
since the mill closed decades ago
watch firemen douse the glaze.
Some recall teen years spent in spinning
rooms, some sweeping up cloth fragments,
others shed tears, glad they're no longer
called lint heads.