Tuesday, September 25, 2007

wi: The Key


I keep diaries in my head
at night I write on sealed pages
in dream codes, a sort
of dot-dot-dash Morse himself
couldn't read, keeps them private
old loves recur, taller than they were
twice as bold
dressed in dimestore suits and ties
I never saw them wear.

And my father
who never heard of Neruda
Gu Cheng or the Cultural Revolution
rocks calmly on the porch
and speaks to me
of bread and milk
I'm sick he says
and wants to say goodbye
as if he were not already dead.

This is a book
my grandchildren will never read
the key is not in my hand
not even in my pocket
never will my children say
Mama tell us of Olden Times
and turn these pages that open upon
old houses, old rooms that suck me in

like Alice through the glass.
This world is mine alone
where the voices and the windows
the old mingling of bodies
and the landscapes are buried
what's here is one raw nerve, exposed
and aching to go where I never can
to grasp the fleeting things
that would disappear.

(This is an old one. Sorry if you have seen it before)



Ashley Lyn said...

Your poem captures that sacred, secret quality of diary/journal writing. I especially loved "old loves recur, taller than they were." How often do I find myself fictionalizing past loves as I write of them again in my journal. Wonderful as usual. Thank you!

pepektheassassin said...

ashley lyn, thank you! I think we all fictionalize our lives in one way or another, don't you?

kimberley said...

Bravo! You know not only how to craft a poem (you really do!) but you also know how to touch tender places, even scary places -
I always look forward to coming here.

Rethabile said...

I haven't. And it hits the spot, touches "the raw nerve," so to speak. Beautiful.

gautami tripathy said...

It hit me hard. I had not read it before this.

Jo said...

Just beautiful.

Pam said...

Oh, Pepek, this poem hit me hard, too. Beautifully written.

Tammy will be here next week, I am very excited... Batman and Robin finally meet!

Tammy said...

This was really a wonderful poem Joyce. I loved the stanza with your dad. Excellent! XXOO

Jan said...

"the key is not in my hand
not even in my pocket"

I love this!

desert rat said...

I hadn't seen this one yet, I'm glad to have caught it the second time around. Wonderful look at how our memories of things change and grow larger than life. We all keep secret diaries in our heads, one way or the other.

tumblewords said...

I hadn't seen this one, so I'm pleased to have the opportunity to catch up! This is lovely, absolutely lovely. And the truth is not buried under multi-layers.

Strangely: Sand County Almanac meant nothing to me. After you commented on my site, three separate references to SCA arrived. I ordered the book! Thanks for the information and thank you for reading my place.

Clare said...

I love the intimacy in this -- even though the pages are sealed and kept in your head, you are sharing them with us, allowing us to peak inside. So beautifully written!

chiefbiscuit said...

This poem is a strong, robust poem that spells it out - and describes so well that border between what we share and what we dream. I think I do recognise it - but it reads fresh. Love it!

Lea said...

so beautiful and haunting in word and memory, a secret place, that only a special key can open...