Sunday, January 10, 2010

New poems for the new year

I've decided to write a poem a week this year. Not like my ambitious poetry mentor and chief promptor, Robert Lee Brewer, who says he's going to write a poem a day.

I also think I'll write poems about people I don't know -- my imaginings and observations about the strangers who come in and out of my life. Here's the first.

1.     The Couple at the Gym

He reminds me of a Svengali as he waits for her at the bench.
In his baseball hat and long sweats,
his backpack slung over one shoulder,
he paces, looks around, adjusts his workout gloves
until she appears from afar.
Her black hair is done up in a pony tail, she has a movie star’s face,
and a body without a pinch of fat.
He leads, she follows him, into the gym
and they workout side by side
on equipment of his choosing.
He hands her the weights,
she complies with the dictated reps.
He finds two treadmills for their next set
and she like his obedient follower
jumps on one of them.
They don’t talk. He’s occupied singing along with the music
flowing through his ear buds.
She just works out, looking pretty.
And so it goes
Svengali and the good girl. I see them everyday
at the gym.

One of Robert's last prompts of last year was to write a juxtaposition poem. Here's my attempt at that.

The wind blows through me. I clutch my jacket close and think how we’ve all turned out. My hair whips into my face as I rummage for my comb. We are all damaged in one way or another. The green trash bin has been knocked over into the street, and brittle and dead leaves scatter on the driveway. The lot of us has had its share – diabetes, obesity, obsessions, sleep apnea, gimpy knees, and now a broken neck. It is calm again.  The neck is healing. The gimp is gone. I used to think it was a tragedy to die young.  I see no movement in the trees. The branches are still. Maybe it’s a tragedy to get old. It is turning cool, the bright sun doesn’t warm, but the days will start getting longer now. Still we are a sorry bunch.

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