Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April poem no. 1

April is poetry month. My goal is to write a poem a day and post a poem a day -- though the posts may be of poems I wrote in the past.

Seeing photos of Michelle Obama in London compared to those of Jackie Kennedy Onassis in Paris in the paper this morning reminds me of the wonderful time I had with my sister and niece one hot summer day in New York City. We saw the Jackie O exhibit and were enthralled. I imagine there will be a similar exhibit of Michelle's clothes someday.

It's always a treat to go to New York. So much is going on. I wrote this poem while sitting in our hotel lobby while we were there.

A Summer's Day in New York

My back is hot to the touch.
Still, the sun beats down
as the whole world strolls,
taking in the smells at the Union Square market.
Fresh basil, warm bread, cut flowers,
vegetables as vivid as objects in a still life,
have come all the way from New Jersey farms.
We go to breakfast at The Coffee Shop,
across from the square,
and eat mountains of eggs and crispy fried potatoes
while listening to live jazz.
Afterward, we head uptown on the subway
breathing in the soot, the pee stink,
and body odors
to see the Jackie O exhibit at the Met.

The lines are so long we huddle
against the wall for an hour,
but we don't care a bit.
Then we push and shove our way through the crowds
just to get a glimpse of her clothes.
Over 80 dresses are there - by Givenchy, Cassini and
who knows how many other designers
who made those 60s
A-shaped dresses in stiff fabrics
that hit just below her beautiful knees
or skimmed the floors she walked on
with matching coats or capes and little pill box caps
that she wore way back on her head.
The sparkly strapless white gown with gauzy train
made her look like a fairy princess.

We think of her that way,
mouths open, teary eyed while watching
the clips of her upstaging her husband,
beaming at Nikita or Nehru or Charles de Gaule,
speaking French and Spanish like a champ
as she ignored those rumors about Marilyn.
Those were magical times for both her and me
before our tragedies changed everything.

We leave the Met
and walk downtown on Madison Avenue
browsing, trying on dresses, Jackie O sunglasses,
and shoes along the way
until we can't take another step.
So, we perch ourselves on bar stools,
sip some Chardonnay,
and let the hordes of people go by.
We’re in New York,
alive and exhausted,
just the way we dreamed we would be.

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