Elegy Eve

 

              

 

 

Torment doesn’t wait for tomorrow,

he shows up tonight on Rofie’s porch

looking like Stevie Becker,

wearing Robert’s overcoat

and smelling like Jim Beam and Old Spice,

demanding something other than lunchmeat

for the wake and reminding me of Phillip Krause

and Kenyon Avenue.

 

He brushes past my elbow

and invites himself in.

The wind that follows him blows

my scribble to the floor

and my now withered arm

he belittles as skinny and weak,

asks me how it feels.

 

Stevie Becker was bow-legged,

they said it was rickets,

and he wore knee braces.

It didn’t seem a big deal being short

until they operated, broke, reset,

months of therapy, we were twelve.

It was a big deal,

he wanted to be taller.

 

Philip Krause was quiet, fat,

obnoxious, had terrible breath.

I hit him behind the left ear

with a toy hammer.

His head was bleeding.

I knew my life could never be the same

so I hid in the airy-ways

between the row-houses

on Kenyon Avenue.

 

Rofie, Robert and his parents,

they find me like Frankenstein.

He had to have stitches.

I get a beating with a horse whip

and get grounded.

I never saw him after that in the alley,

anywhere.

 

Torment pours a drink,

offers me the bottle, explaining

I should sharpen my pencil

and come off the wagon,

he’s found the whip

so cleverly hidden all these years,

it’s a long cold night

and we’re just getting started with Robert.

4 comments

  1. Show torment the door and tell him where he can put that whip. The poem is good, but that guy would not be there any longer than it took me to find something to chase him away. There’s not enough guilt in the world to make someone like him tolerable.

    Like

  2. Craig,

    I feel this poem..

    Just a few miles away from Kenyon Ave, was Zang’s Blue Room,
    (Bank St. Highlandtown). My husband’s brother owned it and I’m
    guessing some of the patrons probably hailed from Kenyon Ave.

    Aside from all that, it’s the way you cause the reader to step into
    the scene from line one on through, that turns my computer screen
    into Roafie’s porch where Torment invites himself in and then to
    “airy-ways” between the row houses, where we come to understand
    that life as you had known it til then was done. This is more than a poem,
    it is an experience that the reader lives.

    You are a poet/philosopher of the highest ilk.

    Keep on keepin’ on!

    Like

  3. Craig,

    The details bring the speaker and the characters alive for me.
    The memories from the past haunt
    and move in like ghosts.

    There is pain in the writing.
    (Torment pours a drink)

    Yet in the end, the writer will write about it.

    Enjoyed reading.
    take care,
    Kerri

    Like

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